Skip to main content

Full text of "The quadrupeds of North America"

See other formats




Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2011 with funding from 
Duke University Libraries 








THE REV. JOHN BACHMAN, D.D., LI,D., &o. <fcc. 




Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1851, by 


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New- York. 


■ ft 

Biology Dept. Library 


GENUS LUTRA. — Ray., Cov., Mustela spec, Linn., Aonyx, Lesson. 

DENTAL formula. 
8 I--1 5— 5 

Incisive -; Canine — ; Molar — =36 
6 l-l s— s 

The second inferior incisor on each side, ;t little receding in most of the 
species; the canine much dilated, hooked; first superior molar, small, 
blunt, and sometimes deciduous ; the second, cutting; the third, of similar 
form, but larger; the fourth, with two external points, but furnished with 
a strong spur on the inner side; the fifth has externally three small points, 
with a broad spur internally. The inferior molars in this genus vary 
from five to six, the first being wanting in some of the species. 

Head large and flattish. terminating in a blunt muzzle ; ears short and 
round; tongue slightly papillous. Body long and slender; legs short; 
toes five <>n each foot. In some of the species the fifth toe on the hind 
foot is rudimental. Toes webbed, armed with short claws which are not 
retractile. Tail, not as long as the body, thick, and flattened hori- 

Body covered externally with long, rigid and glossy hair, with a softer, 
shorter, downy fur intermixed. 

On each side of the anus, there is a small gland secreting fetid matter. 

All the species are good swimmers, live along the banks of rivers and 
ponds, and feed on fish. 

The generic appellation is derived from Lutra — an Otter : from the 
Greek A«* (Ions), wash. 

There are eleven species enumerated by authors, inhabiting the follow- 
VOL. it. — 1 



ing countries : Europe 1, Island of Trinidad 1, Guyana 1, Brazil 1, Kamt- 
schatka 1, Java 1, Malay 1, Pondicherry 1, The Cape of Good Hope 1, 
and North America 2. 


Canada Otter. 

PLATE LI. — Male. 

L. vellere nitido, saturate fusco ; mentc gulaque fusco albis ; L. vul- 
gare major. 


Larger than the European Otter, L. Vulgaris. Dark glossy brown ; 
chin and throat dusky white ; five feet in length. 


Loutre de Canada, Buffon, vol. xiii., p. 326, t. 44. 
Common Otter, Pennant, Arctic Zoolog., vol. i., p. 653. 
Land Otter, Warden's Hist. U. S., p. 206. 
Lutra Canadensis, Sabine, Franklin's Journ., p. 653. 

" Brasiliensis, Harlan, Fauna, p. 72. 

** " Godman, Nat. Hist., vol. i., p. 222. 

" Canadensis, Dekay, Zool., p. 1., p. 39. 


Head, large and nearly of a globular form ; nose, blunt and naked ; 
lips, thick ; ears, round, slightly ovate, and closer together than in L, 
Vulgaris, clothed densely with short hair on both surfaces ; body, long, 
cylindrical ; neck, long ; legs, short and stout ; moustaches, very rigid, 
like bristles ; soles of the feet, thinly clothed with hair between the toes, 
tubercles at the roots of the claws, naked ; feet, webbed to the nails ; 
Tail, stout, gradually tapering toward the extremity, depressed at the base, 
continuing flattened through half its length ; at the base there are two 
oval glands. The longer hairs covering the fur, are glossy and rigid ; 
fur, soft, dense, and nearly as fine as that of the Beaver, continuing through 
the whole extent of the body, even to the extremity of the tail, but shorter 
on the forehead and extremities. 





We overlooked the opportunity of instituting a careful comparison be- 
tween the skulls and teeth of the European and American Otters, and 
have now no access to specimens of the former. We therefore quote the 
language of Dr. Dekay, whose observations in this respect correspond 
with our recollections of a genera] comparison made at the Berlin Museum, 
eleven years ago. " In their dentition the Otters are eminently characterized 
by the enormous dilation of the two posterior cheek teeth in the upper jaw. 
Our species, in this particular, offers some variations from the European 
Otter. The penultimate jaw tooth, in our species, has a broad internal 
heel directed obliquely forward, with a deep fissure dividing the surface 
into two rounded and elevated portions ; and the pointed tubercle is broad, 
with a high shoulder posteriorly, and comparatively little elevated. The 
last tubercular tooth subquadratc, nearly as large as the preceding, and its 
greater axis directed obliquely backwards with four or rather six distinct 
elevated points ; but the outer raised margin, which is so conspicuous in 
the European Otter, appears to be indistinct or simply elevated into two 
pointed tubercles, or wanting entirely, in the American." 

In aire, the canine as well as the anterior molars become much worn. 
In a specimen from Carolina, the incisors are worn down to the upper 
surface of the jaw teeth : in another l'rom Georgia, all the teeth arc worn 
down to the gums. A specimen from Canada and another from Texas 
have the teeth very pointed, and the canine projecting beyond the lips. 
These were evidently younger animals. In older specimens we have on 
several occasions found the two anterior jaw teeth entirely wanting, as 
well as some of the incisors, the former appearing to have dropped out at 
about the fourth year. 


A specimen from Lower Canada. Moustaches very light brown, many 
being white, those on the sides of the face dingy white ; upper lip and 
chin light grayish brown, a shade darker under the throat ; the lonsr hairs 
covering the fur are in one half of their length from their roots dingy 
white, gradually deepening into brown. The general colour on the 
upper surface is that of a rich dark chesnut brown, a shade lighter 
on the whole of the under surface. Richardson states: "The Canada 
Otter may be distinguished from the European species by the fur of 
its belly beins; of the same shining brown colour with that of the 
back." In this particular our observations do not correspond with 
those of our distinguished friend. Out of more than a hundred speci- 
mens of American Otters which we have examined, many ol' which came 



from Canada and the Rocky Mountains, we have but with one or two ex 
ceptions found the colour on the under surface lighter than on the back. 

A specimen from Carolina, an old male, teeth much worn. 

Upper lip from the nostrils, chin and throat to near the chest, grayish 
white ; the fur on the back, although not quite so long as that of speci- 
mens from Canada, is quite dense and silky, and very nearly equal in fine- 
ness. It is whitish at the roots, with a bluish tinge towards the extremities. 
The longer hairs which conceal the fur and present the external colouring 
are very nearly of the same tint as in those procured in Canada, so that 
the specimens from these widely separated localities can scarcely be re- 
garded even as varieties. 

A specimen from Colorado, Texas. 

(The form is precisely similar to the Otters of Canada and those existing 
in various intermediate States. The palms are naked, with a little less 
hair between the toes on the upper and under surfaces.) The colour is 
throughout two shades lighter than that of specimens from Canada, but 
the markings are similarly distributed. Fur on the back from the roots 
soiled white, inclining to brown at the tips. The long and rigid hairs on 
the upper surface lightish brown at the roots, then dark brown, tipped with 
lightish brown. 


Specimen from Canada. — Adult male. 

From point of nose to root of tail, ... 


From point of nose to eye, --.-.-- 
From point of nose to ear, - 

Height of ear, - 

Breadth of ear at base, - 

Specimen from Carolina. 

From point of nose to root of tail, -.*..- 


Point of nose to eye, 

" " to ear, 

Height of ear, ...---- 

Breadth at base, ------- 

Weight, 23 lbs. 


































Specimen from the Colorado, in Texas. 

From nose to root of tail, - 

Length of tail, 

From point of nose to eye, 

" " to ear, - 

Between the ears, 

Height, - - 

Around the body behind the shoulder, 

Around the body, (middle.) 

Weight 20 lbs. 


We concluded our first volume with a brief account of Spcrmophilus 
Richardsonii, the last animal figured in plates 1 lo 50 inclusive, of our 
illustrations of (he Quadrupeds of North America. Having, since that 
volume was written, published about 60 more plates, we now take up our 
pen to portray the habits and describe the forms and colours of the species 
figured in plates 51 to 100 inclusive, and shall, we hope, be able to 
give our readers tolerably good accounts of them ; although, alas ! the 
days of our youth are gone, when, full of enthusiasm, and anxious to 
examine every object in nature within our reach, the rising sun never 
found us slumbering away the fresh hours of the morning, but beamed 
upon our path through the deep forest, or lighted up to joy and glad- 
ness the hill side or mountain top, which we had already gained in 
quest of the birds or the beasts that were to be met with; and where 
we often prolonged our rambles until the shades of evening found 
us yet at a distance from our camp, loaded with wild turkeys, ducks, 
geese, and perchance an Otter. 

Fresh and pleasant in our mind is the recollection of our early expe- 
ditions among the wild woods, and along the unvisited shores of our new 
country ; and although more than forty years of varied and busy life have 
passed since the Otter was shot and drawn, whose figure we have given, 
wc will try to take you with us to a spot on the eastern banks of the fair 
Ohio. It is a cold wintry morning : the earth concealed by a slight cover- 
ing of snow, and the landscape in all its original wildness. Here let us 
proceed cautiously, followed by that constant companion, our faithful dog. 
Whilst we are surveying the quiel waters as they roll onward toward the 
great Mississippi, in whose muddy current they will lose their clear and 

limpid character, and Ik ic as opaque and impetuous as the waves of 

that mighty river of the West, we see a dark object making its way 


towards the spot on which we stand, through the swiftly dividing ele- 
ment. It has not observed us : we remain perfectly still, and presently 
it is distinctly visible ; it is an Otter, and now within the range of our old 
gun " Tear Jacket," we take but one moment to raise our piece and fire ; 
the water is agitated by a violent convulsive movement of the animal, 
our dog plunges into the river, and swimming eagerly to the Otter, seizes 
it, but the latter dives, dragging the dog with it beneath the surface, 
and when they reappear, the Otter has caught the dog by the nose and 
is struggling violently. The brave dog, however, does not give up, but 
in a few moments drags the wounded Otter to the shore, and we imme- 
diately despatch it. Being anxious to figure the animal, we smooth its 
disordered fur and proceed homewards with it, where, although at that 
time we had not drawn many quadrupeds, we soon select a position in 
which to figure the Otter, and accordingly draw it with one foot in a 
steel-trap, and endeavour to represent the pain and terror felt by the 
creature when its foot is caught by the sharp saw-like teeth of the trap. 

Not far from the town of Henderson, (Kentucky), but on the opposite 
side of the Ohio river, in the State of Indiana, there is a pond nearly one 
mile in length, with a depth of water varying from twelve to fifteen feet. 
Its shores are thickly lined with cane, and on the edge of the water stand 
many large and lofty cypress trees. We often used to seat ourselves on a 
fallen trunk, and watch in this secluded spot the actions of the birds and 
animals which resorted to it, and here we several times observed Otters 
engaged in catching fishes and devouring them. When pursuing a fish, 
they dived expertly and occasionally remained for more than a minute 
below the surface. They generally held their prey when they came to the 
top of the water, by the head, and almost invariably swam with it to a 
half-sunken log, or to the margin of the pond, to eat the fish at their ease, 
having done which, they returned again to the deep water to obtain 

One morning we observed that some of these animals resorted to the 
neighbourhood of the root of a large tree which stood on the side of the 
pond opposite to us, and with its overhanging branches shaded the water. 
After a fatiguing walk through the tangled cane-brake and thick under- 
wood which bordered the sides of this lonely place, we reached the oppo- 
site side of the pond near the large tree, and moved cautiously through 
the mud and water towards its roots : but the hearing or sight of the 
Otters was attracted to us, and we saw several of them hastily make off 
at our approach. On sounding the tree with the butt of our gun, we dis- 
covered that it was hollow, and then having placed a large stick in a 
slanting position against the trunk, we succeeded in reaching the lowest 


bough, and thence climbed up to a broken branch from which an aperture 
into the upper part of the hollow enabled us to examine the interior. At 
the bottom there was quite a large space or chamber to which the Otters 
retired, but whether for security or to sleep we could not decide. 

Next morning we returned to the spot, accompanied by one of our 
neighbours, and having approached, and stopped up the entrance under 
water as noiselessly as possible, we cut a hole in the side of the tree four 
or five feet from the ground, and as soon as it was large enough to admit 
our heads, we peeped in and discovered three Otters on a sort of bed 
composed of the inner bark of trees and other soft substances, such as 
water grasses. We continued cutting the hole we had made, larger, and 
when sufficiently widened, took some green saplings, split them at the 
but-end, and managed to fix the head of each animal firmly to the 
ground by passing one of these split pieces over his neck, and then press- 
ing the stick forcibly downwards. Our companion then crept into the 
hollow, and soon killed the Otters, with which we returned home. 

The American Otter frequents running streams, large ponds, and more 
sparingly the shores of some of our great lakes. It prefers those waters 
which are clear, and makes a hole or burrow in the banks, the entrance 
to which is under water. 

This species lias a singular habit of sliding off" the wet sloping hanks 
into the water, and the trappers take advantage of this habit to catch the 
animal by placing a steel-trap near the bottom of their sliding places, so 
that the (Titers occasionally put their foot into it as they are swiftly 
gliding toward the water. 

In Carolina, a very common mode of capturing the Otter is by tying a 
pretty large fish on the pan of a steel-trap, which is sunk in the water 
where it is from five to ten feet deep. The Otter dives to the bottom to 
seize the fish, is caught either by the nose or foot, and is generally 
found drowned. At oilier times the trap is set under the water, without 
bait, on a log, one end of which projects into the water, whilst the other 
rests on the banks of a pond or river ; the Otter, in endeavouring to mount 
the log, is caught in the trap. 

Mr. Godman, in his account of these singular quadrupeds, slates that 
"their favourite sport is sliding, and for this purpose in winter the highest 
ridge of snow is selected, to the top of which the Otters scramble, where. 
lying on the belly with the fore-feet bent backwards, they give them- 
selves an impulse with their hind legs and swiftly glide head-foremost 
down the declivity, sometimes for the distance of twenty yards. This 
sport they continue apparently with the keenest enjoyment until fatigue 
or hunger induces them to desist." 


This statement is confirmed by Cartwright, Hearne, Richardson, and 
more recent writers who have given the history of this species, and is in 
accordance with our own personal observations. 

The Otters ascend the bank at a place suitable for their diversion, and 
sometimes where it is very steep, so that they are obliged to make quite an 
effort to gain the top ; they slide down in rapid succession where there are 
many at a sliding place. On one occasion we were resting ourself on the 
bank of Canoe Creek, a small stream near Henderson, which empties 
into the Ohio, when a pair of Otters made their appearance, and not 
observing our proximity, began to enjoy their sliding pastime. They 
glided down the soap-like muddy surface of the slide with the rapidity of 
an arrow from a bow, and we counted each one making twenty-two 
slides before we disturbed their sportive occupation. 

This habit of the Otter of sliding down from elevated places to the 
borders of streams, is not confined to cold countries, or to slides on the 
snow or ice, but is pursued in the Southern States, where the earth is 
seldom covered with snow, or the waters frozen over. Along the reserve- 
dams of the rice fields of Carolina and Georgia, these slides are very 
common. From the fact that this occurs in most cases during winter, 
about the period of the rutting season, we are inclined to the belief that 
this propensity may be traced to those instincts which lead the sexes to 
their periodical associations. 

Richardson says that this species has the habit of travelling to a great 
distance through the snow in search of some rapid that has resisted the 
severity of the winter frosts, and that if seen and pursued by hunters on 
these journeys, it will throw itself forward on its belly and slide through 
the snow for several yards, leaving a deep furrow behind it, which move- 
ment is repeated with so much rapidity, that even a swift runner on snow 
shoes has some difficulty in overtaking it. He also remarks that it dou- 
bles on its track with much cunning, and dives under the snow to elude 
its pursuers. 

The Otter is a very expert swimmer, and can overtake almost any fish, 
and as it is a voracious animal, it doubtless destroys a great number of 
fresh water fishes annually. We are not aware of its having a preference 
for any particular species, although it is highly probable that it has. 
About twenty-five years ago we went early one autumnal morning to 
study the habits of the Otter at Gordon and Spring's Ferry, on the Cooper 
River, six miles above Charleston, where they were represented as being 
quite abundant. They came down with the receding tide in groups or 
families of five or six together. In the space of two hours we counted 
forty-six. They soon separated, ascended the different creeks in the salt 


marshes, and engaged in capturing mullets (Mugtl). In most cases they 
came to the bank with a fish in their mouth, despatching it in a minute, 
and then hastened again after more prey. They returned up the river to 
their more secure retreats with the rising tide. In the small lakes and 
ponds of the interior of Carolina, there is found a favourite fish with the Ot- 
ter, called the fresh-water trout (Grystes salmoides). 

Although the food of the Otter in general is fish, yet when hard pressed 
by hunger, it will not reject animal food of any kind. Those we had in 
confinement, when no fish could be obtained were fed on beef, which 
they always preferred boiled. During the last winter we .ascertained 
that the skeleton and feathers of a wild duck were taken from an Otters 
nest on the banks of a rice field reserve-dam. It, was conjectured that 
the duck had either been killed or wounded by the hunters, and was in 
this state seized by the Otter. This species can be kept in confinement 
easily in a pond surrounded by a proper fence where a good supply of fish 
is procurable. 

On throwing some live fishes into a small pond in the Zoological 
Gardens in London, where an Otter was kept alive, it immediately 
plunged off the bank after them, and soon securing one, rose to the sur- 
face holding its prize in its teeth, and ascending the bank, rapidly ate it 
by large mouthfuls, and dived into the water again for another. This it 
repeated until it had caught and eaten all the fish which had been thrown 
into the water lor its use. When thus engaged in devouring the luckless 
lishes the ( )tter hit through them, crushing the bones, which we could hear 
snapping under the pressure of its powerful jaws. 

When an Otter is shot and killed in the water, it sinks from the weight 
of its skeleton, the bones heinir nearly solid and therefore heavy, and the. 
hunter consequently is apt to lose the game if the water he deep; this 
animal is, however, usually caught in strong steel-traps placed and hailed 
in its haunts ; if caught by one of the fore-feet, *it will sometimes gnaw 
the loot off, in order to make its escape. 

Otters when caught young are easily tamed, and although their ijait is 
ungainly, will follow their owner about, and at times are quite playful. 
We have on two occasions domesticated the Otter. The individuals had 
been captured when quite young, and in the space of two or three days 
became as tame and gentle as the young of the domestic dog. They 
preferred milk and boiled corn meal, and refused to rat fish or meat of 
any kind, until they were several months old. They became so attached 
to us. thai ai the moment of their entrance into our study they commenced 
crawling into our lap — mounting our table, romping among our books and 
vol. 11. — 2 


writing materials, and not unfrequently upsetting our ink-stand and de- 
ranging our papers. 

The American Otter has one litter annually, and the young, usually 
two and occasionally three in number, are brought forth about the mid- 
dle of April, according to Dr. Richardson, in high northern latitudes. In 
the Middle and Southern States they are about a month earlier, and 
probably litter in Texas and Mexico about the end of February. 

The nest, in which the Otter spends a great portion of the day and in 
which the young are deposited, we have had opportunities of exam- 
ining on several occasions. One we observed in an excavation three feet 
in diameter, in the bank of a rice field ; one in the hollow of a fallen tree, 
and a third under the root of a cypress, on the banks of Cooper river, in 
South Carolina ; the materials — sticks, grasses and leaves — were abun- 
dant ; the nest was large, in all cases protected from the rains, and above 
and beyond the influence of high water or freshets. 

J. W. Audubon procured a fine specimen of the Otter, near Lagrange 
in Texas, on the twenty-third of February, 1846. It was shot whilst play- 
ing or sporting in apiece of swampy and partially flooded ground, about 
sunset, — its dimensions we have already given. 

Early writers have told us that the common Otter of Europe had long 
been taught to catch fish for its owners, and that in the houses of the 
great in Sweden, these animals were kept for that purpose, and would go 
out at a signal from the cook, catch fish and bring it into the kitchen in 
order to be dressed for dinner. 

This, however improbable it may at first appear, is by no means un- 
likely, except that we doubt the fact of the animal's going by itself for 
the fish. 

Bewick relates some anecdotes of Otters which captured salmon and 
other fish for their owners, for particulars of which we must refer our 
readers to his History of Quadrupeds. 

Our late relative and friend, N. Berthoud, Esq., of St. Louis, told us 
some time since, that while travelling through the interior of the State 
of Ohio, he stopped at a house where the landlord had four Otters alive 
which were so gentle that they never failed to come when he whistled 
for them, and that when they approached their master they crawled 
along slowly and with much apparent humility towards him, and looked 
somewhat like enormous thick and short snakes. 


The geographical range of this species includes almost the whole con- 


tinent of North America, and possibly a portion of South America. It 
has, however, been nearly extirpated in our Atlantic, States east of 
Maryland, and is no longer found abundantly in many parts of the 
country in which it formerly was numerously distributed. 

It is now procured most readily, in the western portions of the Uni- 
ted States and on the Eastern shore of Maryland. It is still abundant 
on the rivers and the reserve-dams of the rice fields of Carolina, and 
is not rare in Georgia, Louisiana and Texas. 

A considerable number are also annually obtained in the British pro- 
vinces. 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. 


Much perplexity exists in regard to the number of species of American 
Otters, and consequently in determining their nomenclature. Ray, in 
1693, described a specimen from Brazil under the name of BrazUiensis. 
It was subsequently noticed by Brisson, Blumenbach, D'azara, Marcgrave, 
ScHREBER, SHAW, and others. We have not. had an opportunity of com- 
paring our North American species with any specimen obtained from 
Brazil. The loose and unscientific descriptions we have met with of the 
Brazilian Otter, do not agree in several particulars with any variety of 
the species found in North America; there is, however, a general resem- 
blance in size and colour. Should it hereafter be ascertained by closer 
investigations that the species existing in these widely removed localities 
arc mere varieties, then the. previous name of Braziliensis (Rat) must lie 
substituted for that of L. Canadensis, Fr. Cuvier. 

In addition to the yet undecided species of Ray, Fr. Cuvier has sepa- 
rated the Canada from the Carolina species, bestowing on the former tin- 
name of h. Canadensis, and on the latter that of /-. Lataxina. Cray has 
published a specimen from the more northern portions of North America 
under the name Lataxina Mollis ; and a specimen which we obtained in 
Carolina, and presented to our friend Mr. Watf.riiouse of London, was, we 
believe, published by him under another name. 

Notwithstanding these high authorities, we confess we have not been 
able te, regard them in any other light than varieties, some more strongly 
marked than others, of the same species. The L. Lataxina of Fr. Cuvier, 
and the specimen published by Wateriiouse, do not present such distinctive 
characters as to justify us in separating the species from each other or from 
L. Canadensis. The specimen published by Richardson under the name 


of L. Canadensis, (Fauna Boreali Americana,) was that of a large animal ; 
and the Mollis of Gray was, we think, a fine specimen of the Canada 
Otter, with fur of a particular softness. We have, after much deliberation, 
come to the conclusion that all these must be regarded as varieties of one 
species. In dentition, in general form, in markings and in habits, they are 
very similar. The specimen from Texas, on account of its lighter colour 
and somewhat coarser fur, differs most from the other varieties ; but it does 
not on the whole present greater differences than are often seen in the 
common mink of the salt marshes of Carolina, when compared with speci- 
mens obtained from the streams and ponds in the interior of the Middle 
States. Indeed, in colour it much resembles the rusty brown of the Caro- 
lina mink. In the many specimens we have examined, we have disco- 
vered shades of difference in colour as well as in the pelage among indivi- 
duals obtained from the same neighbourhood. In many individuals which 
were obtained from the South and North, in localities removed a thousand 
miles from each other, we could not discover that they were even varieties. 
In other cases these differences may be accounted for from the known effects 
of climate on other nearly allied species, as evidenced in the common mink. 
On the whole we may observe, that the Otters of the North are of a darker 
colour and have the fur longer and more dense than those of the South. As 
we proceed southward the hair gradually becomes a little lighter in colour 
and the fur less dense, shorter, and coarser. These changes, however, are 
not peculiar to the Otter. They are not only observed in the mink, but in 
the raccoon, the common American rabbit, the Virginian deer, and nearly 
all the species that exist both in the northern and southern portions of our 

We shall give a figure of L. Mollis of Gray, in our third volume. 

■» i 






Swift Fox. Kit Fox. 

PLATE LII.— Male. 

V. gracilis, supra cano fulvaque varices, infra albus ; v. fulvo minor. 


Smaller than l/ir American red fox, body slender, gray above, varied with 
fulvous; beneath, white. 


Kit Fox, or small burrowing fox of the plains. Lewis and Clark, rol. i., p. 400. 

Vnl. iii.. pp. 28. 29. 
Cams Yki.ox, Say. Long's Expedition, vol. ii., p. 339. 
" Harlan's Fauna, 91. 

" " Godman's Nat. Hist., vol. i., p. 282. 

Cams Ciskreo Argextatus, Sabine, Franklin's Journey, p. 658. 
" (vulpes) Cinereo Argentatus, Richardson, Fa. B. Ame. p. 98. 


This little species of Fox bears a great resemblance to our American 
red fox. in shape, but has a broader face and shorter nose than the latter 
species ; in colour it approaches nearer to the gray fox. Its form is light 
and slender, and gives indication of a considerable capacity for speed ; the 
tail is long, cylindrical, bushy, and tapering at the end. 

The entire length from the insertion of the superior incisors to the tip of 
the occipital crest, is rather more than four inches and three-tenths : the 
least distance between the orbital cavities nine-tenths of an inch; between 
the insertion of the lateral muscles at the junction of the frontal and pa- 
rietal bones, half an inch. The greatest breadth of this space on the 
parietal bones, thirteen-twentieths of an inch." — (Say.) The hair is of 
two kinds, a soft dense and rather woolly fur beneath, intermixed with 
longer and stronger hairs. 


The fur on the back, when the hairs are separately examined, is from 



the roots, for three-fourths of its length, of a light brownish gray colour, 
then yellowish brown, then a narrow ring of black, then a larger ring 
of pure white, slightly tipped at the apical part with black. The upper 
part of the nose is pale yellowish brown, on each side of which^ there 
is a patch of brownish, giving it a hoary appearance in consequence of 
some of the hairs being tipped with white ; moustaches black ; upper 
lip margined by a stripe of white hairs. There is a narrow blackish 
brown line between the white of the posterior angle of the mouth, which 
is prolonged around the margin of the lower lip. The upper part of 
the head, the orbits of the eyes, the cheeks and superior surface of the 
neck, back, and hips, covered with intermixed hairs, tipped with brown, 
black, and white, giving those parts a grizzled colour. Towards the pos- 
terior parts of the back there are many long hairs interspersed, that 
are black from the roots to the tip. The sides of the neck, the chest, 
the shoulders and flanks, are of a dull reddish orange colour ; the lower 
jaw is white, with a tinge of blackish brown on its margins ; the throat, 
belly, inner surface of legs, aad upper surface of feet, are white. The 
outside of the forelegs, and the posterior parts of the hindlegs, are brown- 
ish orange. The slight hairs between the callosities of the toes are 
brownish. The tail is on the under surface yellowish gray with a mix- 
ture of black, and a few white hairs ; the under surface is brownish 
yellow and black at the end. 


From point of nose to root of tail, 

Tail, (vertebra,) 

" to end of hair, 

From tip of nose to end of head, 

Between the eyes, 

Breadth between the ears, 

Weight 8i lbs. 

Measurement of a young animal killed at Fort Union. 
From point of nose to root of tail, 

Tail, (vertebrae,) 

" to end of hair, 

Width at the shoulders, 

Length of head, 

Between the eyes, ... - - 

Breadth between the ears, - - 




















The First Swift Fox we ever saw alive was at Fort Clark on the upper 
Missouri river, at which place we arrived on the 7th of June, 1843. It 
had been caught in a steel-trap by one of its fore-feet, and belonged to Mr. 
Chardon, the principal at the Fort, who with great kindness and politeness 
presented it to us ; assuring us that good care would be taken of it during 
our absence, (as we were then ascending the river to proceed to the base 
of the Rocky Mountains.) and that on our return to the Mandan village, 
we might easily take it with us to New- York. 

Mr. Chardon informed us that this Fox was a most expert rat catcher, 
and that it had been kept in a loft without any other food than the rats 
and mice that it caught there. It was a beautiful animal, and ran with 
great rapidity from one side of the loft to another, to avoid us. On our 
approaching, it showed its teeth and growled much like the common red 

Soou after we left Fort Clark, between the western shore of the Mis- 
souri river and the hills called the "Trois mamelles" by the Canadian and 
French trappers, on an open prairie, we saw the second Swift Fox we met 
with on this journey. Our party had been shooting several buffaloes, and 
our friend Ed. Harris, Esq., and ourself, were approaching the hunters 
apace. We were on loot, and Mr. Harris was mounted on his buffalo 
horse, when a Swift Fox darted from a concealed hole in the prairie almost 
under the hoofs of my friend's steed. My gun was unfortunately loaded 
with hall, but the Fox was chased by Mr. Harris, who took aim at it seve- 
ral times but could not draw sight on the animal; and the cunning fellow 
doubled and turned about and around in such a dexterous manner, that it 
finally escaped in a neighbouring ravine, and we suppose gained its bur- 
row, or sheltered itself in the cleft of a rock, as we did not see it start again. 
This slight adventure with this (so called) Swift Fox convinced us that the 
a Hints of the wonderful speed of this animal are considerably exagge- 
rated ; and were we not disposed to retain its name as given by Mr. Say, 
we should select that of Prairie Fox as being most appropriate for it. Mr. 
Harris, mounted on an Indian horse, had no difficulty in keeping up with 
it and overrunning it. which caused it to double, as just mentioned. Had 
nur u'uns been loaded with buck shot we should no doubt have killed it. 
It is necessary to say, perhaps, that all the authors who have written about 
this fox (most of whom appear to have copied Mr. Say's account of it) as- 
sert that its extraordinary swiftness is one of the most remarkable charac- 
teristics of the animal. Godman observes that the fleetest antelope or deer, 


when running at full speed, is passed by this little Fox with the greatest 
ease, and such is the celerity of its motion, that it is compared by the cele- 
brated travellers above quoted, Lewis and Clark and Mr. Say, " to the 
flight of a bird along the ground rather than the course of a quadruped." 

There is nothing in the conformation of this species, anatomically 
viewed, indicating extraordinary speed. On the contrary, when we com- 
pare it with the red fox or even the gray, we find its body and legs 
shorter in proportion than in those species, and its large head and 
bushy tail give it rather a more heavy appearance than either of the 
foxes just named. 

Dr. Richardson informs us that the Saskachewan river is the most 
northern limit of the rznge of the Kit Fox. Its burrows he says are 
very deep and excavated in the open plains, at some distance from the 
woody country. Lewis and Clark describe it as being extremely vigi- 
lant, and say that it betakes itself on the slightest alarm to its burrow. 

On our return to Fort Union after an excursion through a part of the 
adjacent country, we found at some distance from the stockade a young 
Swift Fox which we probably might easily have captured alive ; but 
fearing that its burrow was near at hand, and that it would soon reach 
it and evade our pursuit, Mr. HarrIs shot it. This was the last speci- 
men of this Fox that we were able to observe during our journey ; we 
have given its measurement in a former part of this article. On our re- 
turn voyage, we found on arriving at Fort Clark that the living Swift 
Fox given us by Mr. Ch ardon was in excellent condition. It was placed in a 
strong wooden box lined in part with tin, and for greater security against 
its escape, had a chain fastened to a collar around its neck. During 
our homeward journey it was fed on birds, squirrels, and the flesh of 
other animals, and finally safely reached our residence, near New-York, 
where it was placed in a large cage box two-thirds sunk beneath the 
surface of the ground, completely tinned inside, and half filled with earth. 
When thus allowed a comparatively large space and plenty of earth to 
burrow in, the Fox immediately began to make his way into the loose 
ground, and soon had dug a hole large enough to conceal himself entirely. 
While in this commodious prison he fed regularly and ate any kind of fresh 
meat, growing fatter every day. He drank more water than foxes gene- 
rally do, seemed anxious to play or wash in the cup which held his supply, 
and would frequently turn it over, spilling the water on the floor of the 

The cross fox which we described in our first volume does not appear to 
require water, during the winter months at least, when fed on fresh meat ; 
as one that we have had in confinement during the past winter would not 



drink any, and was not supplied with it for two or three months. Proba- 
bly in a wild state all predatory animals drink more than when in con- 
finement, for they are compelled to take so much exercise in the pursuit 
of their prey, that the evaporation of fluids, by perspiration, must go on 
rapidly ; besides which, they would probably often try to appease the 
cravings of hunger by drinking freely, when unable to procure sufficient 


The Swift Fox appears to be found on the plains of the Columbia river 
valley, as well as the open country of the region in which it has generally 
been observed, the extensive prairies of the eastern side of the Rocky 

It does not appear to be an inhabitant of New Mexico, Texas or Cali- 
fornia, as far as our information on the subject extends. 


Our esteemed friend, Sir John Richardson, (Fauna Boreali Americana, 
p. 08,) has supposed that Schreber's description of Canis cinereo argen- 
tatut, applied to this species, and hence adopted his specific name, to the, 
exclusion of Sav's name of C. Velox. In our first volume, (p. 172,) we 
explained our views on this subject. In the descriptions of C. Virginianus 
of Schrebf.r, and C. Argcnteus, Erx., they evidently described mere varie- 
ties of the gray fox, (V. 1 irginianus) ; we have consequently restored 
Say's specific name, and awarded to him the credit of having been the 
firsl scientific describer of this animal. 

VOL. 11. 3. 



Texan Skunk. 


M. Vitta solitaria media antice (in vertice) rotundata, acque lata ad 
basin caudae usque continuata, hac tota alba. 


The ivhole back, from the forehead to the tail, and the tail, white ; nose 
not covered with hair. 


Mephitis Mesoleuca, Lichtenstein. Darstellung neuer oder wenig bekannter Sau- 

gethiere. Berlin, 1827, 1834. Tab. 44, Fig. 2. 
Mephitis Nasuta, Bennett. Proceedings of the Zoological Society, 1833, p. 39. 
M. Mesoleuca, Licht. Ueber die Gattung Mephitis. Berlin, 1838, p. 23. 


In form, this species bears a considerable resemblance to the common 
American skunk, {Mephitis chinga.) Like all the other species of skunk, 
this animal has a broad and fleshy body ; it is wider at the hips than at 
the shoulders, and when walking, the head is carried near the ground, 
whilst the back is obliquely raised six or seven inches higher ; it stands 
low on its legs, and progresses rather slowly. Forehead, slightly rounded ; 
eyes, small ; ears, short and rounded ; hair, coarse and long ; under fur, 
sparse, woolly, and not very fine ; tail, of moderate length and bushy ; 
nose, for three-fourths of an inch above the snout, naked. This is a char- 
acteristic mark, by which it may always be distinguished from the common 
American skunk, the latter being covered with short hair to the snout. 
Palms naked. 


The whole of the long hair, including the under fur on the back, and the 
tail on both surfaces, is white. This broad stripe commences on the fore- 
head about two inches from the point of the nose, running near th». ears, 

i i 












and in a straight lino along the sides and over the haunches, taking in the 
whole ofthe tail. The nails are white ; the whole of the under surface, of 
the body black, with here and there a white hair interspersed. On the. 
forefeet around the palms and on the edges of the under surface, there are 
coarse whitish hairs. 

The peculiarities in the colour of this species appear to be very uniform, 
as the specimens we examined in the Berlin Museum and in the collection 
ofthe Zoological Society in London, corresponded precisely with the speci- 
men from which this description has been made. 


From point of nose to root of tail, 

Tail (vertebrrr), ------- 

Do. to end of hair, 

Breadth of head between the ears, 

Height of ear, 

Length of heel to longest claw, - 
Breadth of white stripe on the middle of the back, 

Weight, 5 lbs. 


This odoriferous animal is found in Texas and Mexico, and is very sim- 
ilar in its habits to the common skunk of the Eastern, Middle and South- 
western Stales. A specimen procured by J. W. Audubon, who travelled 
through a portion of the State of Texas in 1845 and 6, for the purpose of 
obtaining a knowledge of the quadrupeds of that country, was caught alive 
in the neighbourhood ofthe San Jacinto ; it was secured to the pack saddle 
of one of his baggage mules, but managed in some way to escape during 
the day's march, and as the scent was still strong on the saddle, it was not 
missed until the party arrived at the rancho of Mr. McFadden, who kept. 
8 house of entertainment for man and beast, which by this time was greatly 
needed by the travellers. 

The almost endless varieties of the Mephitis chinga, the common skunk, 
many of which have been described as distinct species by naturalists, have, 
from our knowledge of their curious yet not specific differences, led us to 
admit any new species with doubt ; but from the peculiar characteristics 
of this animal, there can be no hesitation in awarding to Prof. Liciitenstkin 
the honour of having given to the world the first knowledge of this inter- 
esting quadruped. 

The Mephitis Mesoleuca is found on the brown, broomy, sedgy plains, as 


well as in the woods, and the cultivated districts of Texas and Mexico. 
Its food consists in part of grubs, beetles, and other insects, and occa- 
sionally a small quadruped or bird, the eggs of birds, and in fact every- 
thing which this carnivorous but timid animal can appropriate to its 

The retreats of this Skunk are hollows in the roots of trees or fallen 
trunks, cavities under rocks, &c. ; and it is, like the northern species, easily 
caught when seen, (if any one has the resolution to venture on the experi- 
ment,) as it will not endeavour to escape unless it be very near its hiding 
place, in which case it will avoid its pursuer by retreating into its burrow, 
and there remaining for some time motionless, if not annoyed by a dog, or 
by digging after it. 

The stomach of the specimen from which our drawing was made, con- 
tained a number of worms, in some degree resembling the tape worm at 
times found in the human subject. Notwithstanding this circumstance, 
the individual appeared to be healthy and was fat. The rainy season 
having set in (or at least the weather being invariably stormy for some 
time) after it was killed, it became necessary to dry its skin in a chimney. 
When first taken, the white streak along the back was as pure and free 
from any stain or tinge of darkness or soiled colour as new fallen snow. 
The two glands containing the fetid matter, discharged from time to time 
by the animal for its defence, somewhat resembled in appearance a 
soft egg. 

This species apparently takes the place of the common American skunk, 
(Mephitis chinga,) in the vicinity of the ranchos and plantations of the 
Mexicans, and is quite as destructive to poultry, eggs, &c, as its northern 
relative. We have not ascertained anything about its season of breeding, 
or the time the female goes with young ; we have no doubt, however, that 
in these characteristics it resembles the other and closely allied species. 

The long and beautiful tail of this Skunk makes it conspicuous among 
the thickets or in the musquit bushes of Texas, and it most frequently 
keeps this part elevated so that in high grass or weeds it is first seen by 
the hunters who may be looking for the animal in such places. 


The Mephitis Mesoleuca is not met with in any portion of the United 
States eastward and northward of Texas. It is found in the latter State 
and in most parts of Mexico. We have, however, not seen any skunk from 
South America which corresponds with it. 




Naturalists have been somewhat at a loss to decide on the name by 
which this species should be designated, and to what author the credit is 
due of having been the first describer. 

The specimens obtained by Lichtenstein were procured by Mr. Deite, 
in the vicinity of Chico, in Mexico, in 1825, and deposited in the museum 
of Berlin. In occasional papers published by Dr. Lichtenstein, from 1827 
to 1834, this species with many others was first published. In 1833, Ben- 
nett published in the proceedings of the Zoological Society, the same spe- 
cies under the name of M. Nasuta. The papers of Lichtenstein, although 
printed and circulated at Berlin, were not reprinted and collected into a 
volume till 1834. Having seen the original papers as well as the speci- 
mens at Berlin, and being satisfied of their earlier publication, we have 
no hesitation in adopting the name of Lichtenstein as the first describer 
and publisher. 



Brown or Norway Rat. 

PLATE LIV. — Males, Female, and Young. 

Mus, cauda longissima squamata, corpore setoso griseo, subtus albido. 


Grayish-brown above, dull white beneath, tail nearly as long as the body, 
feet not webbed ; of a dingy white colour. 


Mus Decumanus, Pallas, Glir., p. 91-40. 

" " Schreber, Saugthiere, p. 645. 

" Linn., Syst. Nat. ed. Gmel., t. p. 127. 

Mus Aquaticus, Gesner's Quadr., p. 732. 
Mus Decumanus, Shaw's Genl. Zool., ii., p. 50 t. 130. 
Surmulat, Buff., Hist. Nat. viii., p. 206 t. 27. 
Mus Decumanus, Cuv., Regne Animal, 1, p. 197. 

" " Godman, vol. ii., p. 78. 

" " Dekay, p. 79. 

Mus Americanus, Dekay, American Black Rat, p. 81. 


Body, robust ; head, long ; muzzle, long, but less acute than that of the 
black rat ; eyes, large and prominent ; moustaches, long, reaching to the 
ears ; ears, rounded and nearly naked ; tail, generally a little shorter than 
the body, (although occasionally a specimen may be found where it is of 
equal length,) slightly covered with short rigid hairs. There are four toes 
on each of the fore-feet, with a scarcely visible rudimental thumb, protected 
by a small blunt nail ; five toes on each of the hind feet ; the feet are 
clothed with short adpressed hairs. The fur seldom lies smooth, and the 
animal has a rough and not an inviting appearance. 


Outer surface of the incisors, reddish-brown ; moustaches, white and 
black ; the former colour preponderating ; the few short scattered hairs 
along the outer edges of the ear, yellowish brown ; eyes, black ; hair on 




\ A 


the back, from the roots, bluish-gray, then reddish-brown, broadly tipped 
with dark brown and black. On the under surface, the softer and shorter 
hair is from the roots ashy-gray broadly tipped with white. 


1st. We have on several occasions, through the kindness of friends, re- 
ceived specimens of white rats which were supposed to be new species. 
They proved to be albinos of the present species. Their colour was white 
throughout, presenting the usual characteristics of the albino, with red 
eyes. One of this variety was preserved for many months in a cage with 
the brown rat, producing young, thai in this instance all proved to be 

2d. We have at different times been able to procure specimens of a sin- 
gular variety of this species that seems to have originated in this country. 
For the first specimen we were indebted to our friend Dr. Samuel Wilson 
of Charleston. Two others were sent to us from the interior of South 
Carolina. One was presented to us by a cat, and another was caught in a 
trap. In form, in size, and in dentition, they are precisely like the brown 
rat. The colour, however, is on both surfaces quite black. In some spe- 
cimens there is under the chest and on the abdomen, a longitudinal white 
stripe similar to those of the mink. The specimens, after being preserved 
for a year or two, lose their intense black colour, which gradually assumes 
a more brownish hue. Wc examined a nest of the common brown rat 
containing 8 young, 5 of which were of the usual colour, and 3 black. 
The specimen obtained by Mr. Bell of New-York and published by Dr. 
Dekay, New- York Fauna, p. 81, under the name of Mus Americanus, 
undoubtedly belonged to this variety, which appears to have of late years 
become more common in the Southern than in the Northern States. This 
is evidently not a hybrid produced between Mus Decumanus and Mus 
Rattus, as those we have seen present the shape and size of the former, 
only differing in colour. 



From point of nose to root of tail, - - - - lo 

Tail, - 9 

From point of nose to ear, - 2i 

Height of ear, s 



The brown rat is unfortunately but too well known almost in every 
portion of our country, and in fact throughout the world, to require an 
elaborate account of its habits, but we will give such particulars as may 
we hope be interesting. It is one of the most prolific and destructive little 
quadrupeds about the residences of man, and is as fierce as voracious. 
Some cases are on record where this rat has attacked a man when he 
was asleep, and we have seen both adults and children who, by their 
wanting a piece of the ear, or a bit of the end of the nose, bore painful 
testimony to its having attacked them while they were in bed ; it has been 
known to nibble at an exposed toe or finger, and sometimes to have bitten 
even the remains of the shrouded dead who may have been exposed to its 

The Norway Rat is very pugnacious, and several individuals may often 
be seen fighting together, squealing, biting, and inflicting severe wounds 
on each other. On one occasion, we saw two of these rats in furious 
combat, and so enraged were they, that one of them whose tail was turned 
towards us, allowed us to seize him, which we did, giving him at the same 
time such a swing against a gate post which was near, that the blow 
killed him instantly — his antagonist making his escape. 

During the great floods or freshets which almost annually submerge the 
flat bottom-lands on the Ohio river at various places, the rats are driven 
out from their holes and seek shelter under the barns, stables, and houses 
in the vicinity, and as the increasing waters cover the low grounds, may 
be seen taking to pieces of drift wood and floating logs, &c, on which 
they sometimes remain driving along with the currents for some distance. 
They also at such times climb up into the lofts of barns, smokehouses, &c, 
or betake themselves to the trees in the orchards or gardens. We once, 
at Shippingport, near the foot of the falls of the Ohio river, whilst residing 
with our brother-in-law, the late N. Beethoud, went out in a skiff, during 
a freshet which had exceeded those of many previous years in its altitude, 
and after rowing about over the tops of fences that were secured from 
rising with the waters by being anchored by large cross-timbers placed 
when they were put up, under the ground, to which the posts were dove- 
tailed, and occasionally rowing through floating worm-fences which had 
broken away from their proper locations and were lying flat upon the sur- 
face of the flowing tide, we came to the orchard attached to the garden, 
and found the peach and apple trees full of rats, which seemed almost as 
active in running among the branches as squirrels. We had our gun with 


us and tried to shoot some of them, but the cunning rogues dived into the 
water whenever we approached, and swam off in various directions, some 
to one tree and some to another, so that we were puzzled which to follow. 
The rats swam and dived with equal facility and made rapid progress 
through the water. Many of them remained in the orchard until the 
freshet subsided, which was in the course of a few days. Whether they 
caught any fish or not during this time we cannot say, but most of them 
found food enough to keep them alive until they were able once more to 
occupy their customary holes and burrows. During these occasional 
floods on our western rivers, immense numbers of spiders and other in- 
sects take refuge in the upper stories of the houses, and the inhabitants 
find themselves much incommoded by them as well as by the turbulent 
waters around their dwellings. Such times are, however, quite holidays 
to the young folks, and skills and batteaux of every description are in re- 
quisition, while some go about on a couple of boards, or paddle from street 
to street on large square pine logs. When the flats are thus covered, 
there is generally but little current running on them, although the main 
channel of the river flows majestically onward, covered with floating logs 
and the fragments of sheds, haystacks, &c, which have left their quiet homes 
on the sides of the river many miles above, to float on a voyage of discov- 
ery down to the great Mississippi, unless stopped by the way by the exer- 
tions of some fortunate discoverer of their value, who rowing out among 
the drifting logs, roots and branches, ties a rope to the frail floating tene- 
ment, and tows it to the trunk of a tree, where he makes it fast, for the water 
to leave it ready for his service, when the river has again returned to, its 
quiet and customary channel. Stray flat boats loaded with produce, flour, 
corn and tobacco, &c, are often thus taken up, and are generally found 
and claimed afterwards by their owners. The sight of the beautiful Ohio 
thus swelling proudly along, and sometimes embracing the country with 
its watery margin extended for miles beyond its ordinary limits, is well 
worth a trip to the West in February or March. But these high freshets 
do not occur every year, and depend on the melting of the snows, which 
are generally dissolved so gradually that the channel of the river is suffi- 
cient to carry them off. 

In a former work, (Ornithological Biography, vol. 1, p. 155,) we have 
given a more detailed account of one of the booming floods of the Ohio 
and Mississippi rivers, to which we beg now to refer such of our readers 
.is have never witnessed one of those remarkable periodical inundations. 

Mr. Ocden Hammond, formerly of Throg's Meek, near New- York, furnished 
us with the following account of the mode in which the Norway Rat cap- 
iiirvs and G eds upon the small sand clams which abound on the sandy 

VOL. II 1 


places along the East river below high water mark. He repaired to a 
wharf on his farm with one of his men at low water : in a few moments a 
rat was seen issuing from the lower part of the wharf, peeping cautiously 
around before he ventured from his hiding place. Presently one of the 
small clams buried in the soft mud and sand which they inhabit, threw 
up a thin jet of water about a foot above the surface of the ground, upon 
seeing which, the rat leaped quickly to the spot, and digging with its fore- 
paws, in a few moments was seen bringing the clam towards his retreat, 
where he immediately devoured it. 

When any of these clams lie too deep to be dug up by the rats, they con- 
tinue on the watch and dig after the next which may make known its 
whereabouts by the customary jet of water. These clams are about £ of 
an inch long and not more than | of an inch wide ; their shells are slight, 
and they are sometimes used as bait by fishermen. 

The Brown or Norway Rat was first introduced in the neighbourhood of 
Henderson, Kentucky, our old and happy residence for several years, with- 
in our recollection. 

One day a barge arrived from New-Orleans (we think in 1811) loaded 
with sugar and other goods ; some of the cargo belonged to us. During 
the landing of the packages we saw several of these rats make their escape 
from the vessel to the shore, and run off in different directions. In a year 
from this time they had become quite a nuisance ; whether they had been re- 
inforced by other importations, or had multiplied to an incredible extent, we 
know not. Shortly after this period we had our smokehouse floor taken up 
on account of their having burrowed under it in nearly every direction. 
We killed at that time a great many of them with the aid of our dogs, but 
they continued to annoy us, and the readers of our Ornithological Biography 
are aware, that ere we left Henderson some rats destroyed many of our 
valued drawings. 

This species migrates either in troops or singly, and for this purpose 
takes passage in any conveyance that may offer, or it plods along on foot. 
It swims and dives well, as we have already remarked, so that rivers or 
water-courses do not obstruct its progress. We once knew a female to 
secrete herself in a wagon, loaded with bale rope, sent from Lexington, 
(Ky.) to Louisville, and on the wagon reaching its destination, when the 
coils of rope were turned out, it was discovered that the animal had a lit- 
ter of several young ones : she darted into the warehouse through the iron 
bars which were placed like a grating in front of the cellar windows. Some 
of the young escaped also, but several of them were killed by the wagoner. 
How this rat was fed during the journey we do not know, but as the wagons 


stop every evening at some tavern, the probability is that she procured food 
for herself by getting out during the night and picking up corn, &c. 

The Norway Rat frequently deserts a locality in which it has for some 
time remained and proved a great pest. When this is the case, the whole 
tribe journey to other quarters, keeping together and generally appearing 
in numbers in their new locality without any previous warning to the un- 
lucky farmer or housekeeper to whose premises they have taken a fancy. 

When we first moved to our retreat, nine miles above the city of New- 
York, Ave had no rats to annoy us, and wo hoped it would be some time be- 
fore they discovered the spot where we had located ourselves. But in the 
course of a few months a great many of them appeared, and we have 
occasionally had eggs, chickens and ducklings carried off" by them to the 
number of six or more in a night. We have never been able to get rid of 
this colony of rats, and they have even made large burrows in the banks 
on the water side, where they can hardly be extirpated. 

The Norway Rat is quite abundant in New-York and most other mari- 
time cities, along the wharves and docks, and becomes very large. These 
animals are frequently destroyed in great numbers, while a ship is in port, 
after her cargo has been discharged, by smoking them; the fumes of sul- 
phur and other suffocating materials, being confined to the hold by closing 
all parts, windows and hatches. After a thorough cleaning out, a large 
ship has been known to have had many thousands on board. Our old 
friend, Capt. Cimings, who in early life made many voyages to the East 
Indies, relates to us, that one of his captains used to have rats caught, 
when on long voyages, and had them cooked and served up at his table 
as a luxury. He allowed his sailors a glass of grog for every rat they 
caught, and as the supply was generally ample, he used to invite his mates 
and passengers to partake of them with due hospitality. Our friend, who 
was a mate, had a great horror of the captain's invitations, for it was soiiu- 
times difficult to ascertain in what form the delicate animals would appear, 
and to avoid eating them. Not having ourselves eaten rats, (as far as we 
know,) we cannot say whether the old India captain's fondness for them 
was justified by their possessing a fine flavour, but we do think prejudices 
are entertained against many animals and reptiles that are, after all, pretty- 
good eating. 

In the account of the black rat in our first volume, {Mus rattus,) pp. 190, 
191, and 192, we gave some details of the habits of the present species, 
and stated our opinion in regard to its destroying the black rat. Dr. God- 
hah considered the Norway Rat so thorough an enemy of the black rat, 
that he says, (vol. 2, p. 83.) in speaking of the latter, that it is now found 
only in situations to which the Brown Rat has not extended its migrations. 


According to the same author, who quotes R. Smith, Rat Catcher, p. 5, 1768, 
(see Godman, vol. 2, p. 77,) the Brown Rat was not known even in Europe 
prior to the year 1750. Richardson says, (probably quoting from Harlan, 
Fauna, p. 149,) that it was brought from Asia to Europe, according to the 
accounts of historians of the seventeenth century, and was unknown in Eng- 
land before 1730. Pennant, writing in 1785, says he has no authority for con- 
sidering it an inhabitant of the new continent (America). Haelan states 
that the Norwegian rat did not, as he was credibly informed, make 
its appearance in the United States any length of time previous to the 
year 1775. Harlan does not give the Brown Rat as an American species, 
giving only what he considered indigenous species. 

The Brown Rat brings forth from 10 to 15 young at a litter, and breeds 
several times in a year. Fortunately for mankind, it has many enemies : 
weasels, skunks, owls, hawks, &c, as well as cats and dogs. We have never 
known the latter to eat them, but they may at times do so. Rats are also 
killed by each other, and the weak ones devoured by the stronger. 

This species becomes very fat and clumsy when living a long time in 
mills or warehouses. We have often seen old ones so fat and inactive 
that they would fall back when attempting to ascend a staircase. 

We will take our leave of this disagreeable pest, by saying, that it is 
omnivorous, devouring with equal voracity meat of all kinds, eggs, poul- 
try, fish, reptiles, vegetables, &c. &c. It prefers eels to other kinds of fish, 
having been known to select an eel out of a large bucket of fresh fish, 
and drag it off" to its hole. In vegetable gardens it devours melons, cu- 
cumbers, &c, and will eat into a melon, entering through a hole large 
enough to admit its body, consuming the tender sweet fruit, seeds and 
all, and leaving the rind almost perfect. Where rats have gained 
access to a field or vegetable garden, they generally dig holes near the 
fruits or vegetables, into which they can make an easy retreat at the ap- 
proach of an enemy. 

We have represented several of these rats in our plate about to devour 
muskmelons, for which they have a strong predilection. 

geographical distribution. 

The Mus Decumanus is found in all the temperate parts of the world 
where man has been able to carry it in ships. It has not as yet penetrat- 
ed into the fur countries, to the Rocky Mountains and California. The 
Neotoma Drummondi would probably be able to destroy it, being quite 
as fierce and much larger, should its wanderings lead it into the territory 
occupied by the latter. The Brown or Norway Rat is met with almost 


every where from Nova Scotia to and beyond our southern range, except 
in the western and northern regions above mentioned, and there even it 
will soon be found in California, at the mouth of the Columbia river, and 
among the settlements in Oregon. 


We had assigned to Linnaeus the credit of having been the first describer 
of the Brown Rat. On turning however to his 12th edition, we find no 
notice of this species. In a subsequent edition published by Gmelin in 1778, 
a description is added. It had however been previously described by Pal- 
las in 1707 under the name which it still retains. He is therefore entitled 
to the priority. 



Red-Tailed Squirrel. 


S. supra sub rufus cano mistus, subtus sordide flavus, magnitudine inter 
s. cinereum et s. migratorium ; cauda auriculisque rufis. 


Intermediate in size between the cat squirrel (S. Cinereus) and the North- 
ern gray squirrel (S. Migratorius) ; ears and tail, red ; body, light-brown 
mixed with gray above, soiled buff beneath. 


In form this species resembles the northern gray squirrel, possessing 
evidently all its activity ; its proportions are more delicate, and it weighs 
less, than the cat squirrel. It is considerably smaller than the great-tailed 
squirrel of Say, (S. Sayi). Although a little larger than the northern gray 
squirrel, its tail is shorter, and its fur a little coarser. The only specimen 
in which we were enabled to examine the dentition, had but twenty teeth ; 
the small front molars which appear to be permanent in the northern gray 
squirrel, and deciduous in several other species, were here entirely wanting. 


The fur on the back is in half its length from the roots, plumbeous, suc- 
ceeded by a narrow marking of light brown, then black, tipped with 
whitish, a few interspersed hairs are black at the apical portion ; on the 
under surface the hairs are yellowish-white at the roots, and reddish-buff 
at the tips. The long hairs on the under surface of the tail are red through 
their whole extent. On the upper surface of the tail the hairs are reddish 
with three black annulations, tipped with red. Moustaches, black ; ears, 
around the eye, sides of face, throat and neck, inner surface of legs, upper 
surface of feet and belly, dull buff; tail, rufous. 


I'lati I. 

\ I 





Length, from point of nose to root of tail, - - 13 

Do. vertebrae, --------10 

Do. to end of hair, 12| 

Height of ear, i 

Heel to end of longest nail, 2} 


We have obtained no information in regard to the habits of this species, 
but have no doubt it possesses all the sprightliness and activity of other 
squirrels, particularly the Northern gray and cat squirrels, as well as the 
great tailed squirrel, to which in form and size it is allied. 


The specimen from which our drawing was made, was procured in the 
State of Illinois. This squirrel is also found in the barrens of Kentucky: 
we possess a skin sent to us by our good friend Dr. Croghan, procured we 
believe near the celebrated Mammoth cave, of which he is proprietor. 

Mr. Cabot, of Boston, likewise has one, as well as we can recollect, in 
his collection. We sought in vain, while on our journey in the wilds of the 
Upper Missouri country, for this species, which apparently does not extend 
iis range west of the well-wooded districts lying to the east of the great 
prairies. It will probably be found abundant in Indiana, although it has 
been hitherto most frequently observed in Illinois. Of its northern and 
southern limits, we know nothing, and it may have a much more extended 
distribution than is at present supposed. 




t ■ ■ ° n °— ° nr 7 6— * 

Incisive - ; Canine — ; Molar — =32. 

8 0—0 6—6 

Head, large and broad ; forehead, slightly arched ; horns, placed before 
the salient line of the frontal crest ; tail, short ; shoulders, elevated ; hair, 
soft and woolly. 

The generic name is derived from Pliny, who applied the word Bison, 
wild ox, to one of the species on the Eastern continent. 

There are five species of Buffalo that may be conveniently arranged 
under this genus : one existing in the forests of Southern Russia in Asia, 
in the Circassian mountains, and the desert of Kobi ; one in Ethiopia and 
the forests of India, one on the mountains of Central Asia, one in Ceylon, 
and one in America. In addition to this, the genus Bos, which formerly 
included the present, contains five well determined species, one inhabiting 
the country near the Cape of Good Hope, one in Central Africa, one in 
the Himalaya mountains and the Birman Empire, one in India, and one 
in the forests of Middle Europe. 


American Bison. — Buffalo. 


PLATE LVU. Female, Male and Young. 

B. capite magno, lato, fronte leviter arcuata ; cornibus parvis, brevi- 
bus, teretibus, extrorsum dein sursum versis ; cauda breve, cruribus gra- 
cilibus armis excelsis, villo molli, lanoso. 


Forehead, broad, slightly arched ; horns, small, short, directed laterally 
and upwards ; tail, short ; legs, slender ; shoulders, elevated • hair, soft 
ind awolly. 


• 1 


1 J 






, ii 



* ( 







v $ 






Taurus Mexicanus, Hernandez, Mex., p. 587, Fig. male, 1651. 
Taureau Sauvaoe, Hennepin, Nouv. Discov., vol. i., p. 186, 1699. 
The Buffalo, Lawson's Carolina, p. 115, Fig. 

" Cateaby's Carolina, Appendix xxxii., tab. 20. 
" " Hearne's Journey, p. 412. 

*' Franklin's First Voy., p. 118. 

" " Pennant's Arctic Zool., vol. i., p. 1. 

" Long's Expedition, vol. iii., p. 68. 
" Warden's U. S., vol. i., p. 248. 
Bos Americans, Linn., S. N., ed Gmel. 1, p. 204. 

" " Cuv., Regne an 1, p. 270. 

Bos Americanup, Harlan, 268. 
" " Godnian, vol. iii., 4. 

Ricbardson, Fa., p. 79. 
Blffalo, Hudson's Bay Traders, Le Boeuf, Canadian Voyagers. 
American Ox, Dobs, Hudson's Bay, 41. 


Male, killed on the Yellow Stone river, July 16th, 1843. 

The form bears a considerable resemblance to that of an overgrown do- 
mestic bull, the top of the hump on the shoulders being considerably higher 
than the rump, although the fore-legs are very short; horns, short, stout, 
curved upward and inward, one foot one inch and a half around the 
curve : ears, short and slightly triangular towards the point ; nose, bait ; 
nostrils, covered internally with hairs; eyes, rather small in proportion 
lo the size of the animal, sunk into the prominent projection of the skull ; 
neck, and forehead to near the nose, covered with a dense mass of shaggy 
hair fourteen inches long between the horns, which, as well as the eyes 
and ears, are thereby partially concealed ; these hairs become gradually 
shorter and more woolly towards the muzzle. Under the chin and lower 
jaw (here is an immense beard, a foot or upwards in length. 

Neck, short ; hairs along the shoulder and fore-legs about four inches long. 
The beard around the muzzle resembles that of the common bull. A mass 
of hair rises on the hind part of the fore-leg, considerably below the knee. 
A ridge of hairs commences on the back and runs to a point near the in- 
sertioD of the tail. On the flanks, rump and fore-legs the hairs are very 
short and fine. 

( >n the hind-legs there are straggling long hairs extending to the knee, 
.•mil a few tufts extending six inches below the knee : hind-lo^s, and 
tail, covered with short hairs; within a few inches of the tip of I be tail 
there is a tuft of hair nearly a fool in length. The pelage on the head 


has scarcely any of the soft woolly hair which covers other parts of the 
body, and approaches nearer to hair than to wool. 

A winter killed specimen. 

From the neck, around the shoulder and sides, the body is covered with 
a dense heavy coat of woolly hair, with much longer and coarser hairs in- 
termixed. There is a fleshy membrane between the forelegs, like that in 
the common domestic bull, but not so pendulous. 


In form and colour the female bears a strong resemblance to the male ; 
she is, however, considerably smaller, and of a more delicate structure. 
Her horns are of the same length and shape as those of the male, but are 
thinner and more perfect, in consequence of the cows engaging less in 
combat than the bulls. The hump is less elevated ; the hair on the fore- 
head shorter and less bushy ; the rings on the horns are more corrugated 
than on those of our domestic cattle. 

Spinous processes rising from the back bone or vertebrae of the bull, and 
forming the hump : they are flat, with sharp edges both anteriorly and 
posteriorly ; the two longest are eighteen and a quarter inches long, 
three inches at the end which is the widest, and two inches at the 
narrowest ; the first, fifteen inches ; second, (largest,) eighteen and a quar- 
ter inches in length ; third, sixteen and a half; fourth, sixteen ; the fifth, fif- 
teen inches, and the rest gradually diminishing in size ; the fifteenth spinous 
process being three and a half inches long; the remainder are wanting in 
our specimen. The whole of the processes are placed almost touching 
each other at the insertion and at the end, and their breadth is parallel to 
the course of the back-bone. In the centre or about half the distance from 
the insertion to the outer end of them, they are (the bone being narrower 
in that part) from a quarter to one inch apart. The ribs originate and in- 
cline outward backward and downward from between these upright 
spinous bones. 


A summer specimen. 

Head, neck, throat, fore-legs, tail and beard, dark brownish-black ; 
hoofs, brown ; rump, flanks, line on the back, blackish brown ; horns nearly 
black. Upper surface of body light-brown ; the hairs uniform in colour 
from the roots, the whole under surface blackish-brown. 

The colour of the female is similar to that of the male- 

At the close of the summer when the new coat of hair has been obtained, 


the Buffalo is in colour between a dark umber, and liver-shining brown; 
as the hair lengthens during winter, the tips become paler. 

Young male, twelve months old. 

A uniform dingy brown colour, with a dark brown stripe of twisted woolly 
upright hairs, extending from the head over the nock shoulders and back 
to the insertion of the tail. The hairs on the forehead, which form the 
enormous mass on the head of the adult, are just beginning to be deve- 

Under the throat and along the chest the hairs extend in a narrow line 
of about three inches in length : the hush at the end of the tail is tolerably 
well developed. Hairs on the whole body short and woolly. 

A calf, six weeks old, presents the same general appearance, but is 
more woolly. The legs, especially near the hoofs, are of a lighter colour 
than the adult. 

A calf taken from the body of a cow, in September, was covered with 
woolly hair; the uniform brownish, or dim yellow, strongly resembling 
the young of a domesticated cow. 


Whether we consider this noble animal as an object of the chase, or as 
an article of food for man, it is decidedly the most important of all our con- 
temporary American quadrupeds ; and as we can no longersee the gi- 
gantic mastodon passing over the broad savannas, or laving his enormous 
sides in the deep rivers of our wide-spread land, we will consider the 
Buffalo as a link, (perhaps sooner to be forever lost than is generally sup- 
posed,) which to a slight degree yet connects us with larger American ani- 
mals, belonging to extinct creations. 

Hut ere we endeavour to place before you the living and breathing herds 
of Buffaloes, you must journey with us in imagination to the vast west- 
ern prairies, the secluded and almost inaccessible valleys of the Rocky 
Mountain chain, and the arid and nearly impassable deserts of the western 
table lands of our country; and here we may be allowed to express our 
deep, though unavailing regret, that the world now contains only few and 
imperfect remains of the hist races, of which we have our sole knowledge 
through th«' researches and profound deductions of geologists ; and even 
though our knowledge ofthe osteology of the more recently exterminated 
species be sufficient to place them before our "mind's eye." we have no de- 
scription and no figures of the once living and moving, but now de- 
parted possessors of these woods, plains, mountains and waters, in which, 


ages ago, they are supposed to have dwelt. Let us however hope, that our 
humble efforts may at least enable us to perpetuate a knowledge of such 
species as the Giver of all good has allowed to remain with us to the pre- 
sent day. And now we will endeavour to give a good account of the ma- 
jestic Bison. 

In the days of our boyhood and youth, Buffaloes roamed over the small 
and beautiful prairies of Indiana and Illinois, and herds of them stalked 
through the open woods of Kentucky and Tennessee ; but they had dwindled 
down to a few stragglers, which resorted chiefly to the " Barrens," to- 
wards the years 1808 and 1809, and soon after entirely disappeared. Their 
range has since that period gradually tended westward, and now you 
must direct your steps " to the Indian country," and travel many hundred 
miles beyond the fair valleys of the Ohio, towards the great rocky chain 
of mountains which forms the backbone of North- America, before you can 
reach the Buffalo, and see him roving in his sturdy independence upon the 
vast elevated plains, which extend to the base of the Rocky Mountains. 

Hie with us then to the West ! let us quit the busy streets of St. Louis, 
once considered the outpost of civilization, but now a flourishing city, in 
the midst of a fertile and rapidly growing country, with towns and villages 
scattered for hundreds of miles beyond it ; let us leave the busy haunts of 
men, and on good horses take the course that will lead us into the Buffalo 
region, and when we have arrived at the sterile and extended plains which 
we desire to reach, we shall be recompensed for our toilsome and tedious 
journey : for there we may find thousands of these noble animals, and be 
enabled to study their habits, as they graze and ramble over the prairies, 
or migrate from one range of country to another, crossing on their route 
water-courses, or swimming rivers at places where they often plunge from 
the muddy bank into the stream, to gain a sand-bar or shoal, midway in 
the river, that affords them a resting place, from which, after a little time, 
they can direct their course to the opposite shore, when, having reached it, 
they must scramble up the bank, ere they can gain the open prairie 

There we may also witness severe combats between the valiant bulls, 
in the rutting season, hear their angry bellowing, and observe their saga- 
city, as well as courage, when disturbed by the approach of man. 

The American Bison is much addicted to wandering, and the various 
herds annually remove from the North, at the approach of winter, although 
many may be found, during that season, remaining in high latitudes, their 
thick woolly coats enabling them to resist a low temperature, without suf- 
fering greatly. During a severe winter, however, numbers of them perish, 
especially the old, and the very young ones. The breeding season is gen- 


orally the months of June and July, and the calves are brought forth in 
April and May ; although occasionally they arc produced as early as March 
or as late as July. The Buffalo most frequently has but one calf at a 
time, but instances occur of their having two. The females usually re- 
tire from the herd either singly or several in company, select as solitary a 
spot as can be found, remote from the haunt of wolves, bears, or other 
enemies that would he most likely to molest them, and there produce their 

Occasionally, however, they bring forth their offspring when the herd 
is migrating, and at such times they are left by the main body, which they 
rejoin as soon as possible. The young usually follow the mother until 
she is nearly ready to have a calf again. The Buffalo seldom produces 
\oung until the third year, but will continue breeding until very old. 
When a cow and her very young calf are attacked by wolves, the cow 
bellows and sometimes runs at the enemy, and not (infrequently frightens 
him away ; this, however, is more generally the case when several cows 
are together, as the wolf, ever on the watch, is sometimes able to secure 
a calf when it is only protected by its mother. 

The Buffalo begins to shed its hair as early as February. This falling of 
the winter coat shows first between the fore-legs and around the udder in 
the female on the inner surface of the thighs, &c. Next, the entire pelage 
of long hairs drop gradually but irregularly, leaving almost naked patches 
in some places, whilst other portions are covered with loosely hanging 
wool and hair. At this period these animals have an extremely ragged 
and miserable appearance. The last part of the shedding process takes 
place on the hump. During the time of shedding, the Bison searches for 
trees, bushes, &c, against which to rub himself, and thereby facilitate 
the speed} falling off of his old hair. It is not until the end of September, 
or later, that he gains his new coat of hair. The skin of a Buffalo, killed 
in October, the hunters generally consider, makes a. good Buffalo robe; 
and who is there, has driven in an open sleigh or wagon, that will 
not be ready to admit this covering to be the cheapest and the best, as a 
protection from the cold, rain, sleet, and the drifting snows of winter ? for it is 
not only a warm covering, but impervious to water. 

The Bison bulls generally select a mate from among a herd of cows 
and do no! leave their chosen one until she is about to calve. 

When two or more males fancy the same female, furious hattles ensue 
and the conqueror leads oil' the fair cause of the contest in triumph. Should 
the COW he alone, the defeated lovers follow the happy pair at such a re- 
spectful distance, as will ensure to them a chance to make their escape, 
if they should again become obnoxious to the victor, and at the same time 


enable them to take advantage of any accident that might happen in their 
favour. But should the fight have been caused by a female who is in a large 
herd of cows, the discomfited bull soon finds a substitute for his first passion. 
It frequently happens, that a bull leads off a cow, and remains with her 
separated during the season from all others, either male or female. 

When the Buffalo bull is working himself up to a belligerent state, 
he paws the ground, bellows loudly, and goes through nearly all the 
actions we may see performed by the domesticated bull under similar 
circumstances, and finally rushes at his foe head foremost, with all his 
speed and strength. Notwithstanding the violent shock with which two 
bulls thus meet in mad career, these encounters have never been known 
to result fatally, probably owing to the strength of the spinous process 
commonly called the hump, the shortness of their horns, and the quan- 
tity of hair about all their fore-parts. 

When congregated together in fair weather, calm or nearly so, the 
bellowing of a large herd (which sometimes contains a thousand) may 
be heard at the extraordinary distance often miles at least. 

During the rutting season, or while fighting, (we are not sure which,) 
the bulls scrape or paw up the grass in a circle, sometimes ten feet in di- 
ameter, and these places being resorted to, from time to time, by other 
fighting bulls, become larger and deeper, and are easily recognised even 
after rains have filled them with water. 

In winter, when the ice has become strong enough to bear the 
weight of many tons, Buffaloes are often drowned in great numbers, for 
they are in the habit of crossing rivers on the ice, and should any alarm 
occur, rush in a dense crowd to one place ; the ice gives way beneath the 
pressure of hundreds of these huge animals, they are precipitated into the 
water, and if it is deep enough to reach over their backs, soon perish. 
Should the water, however, be shallow, they scuffle through the broken 
and breaking ice, in the greatest disorder, to the shore. 

From time to time small herds, crossing rivers on the ice in the spring, 
are set adrift, in consequence of the sudden breaking of the ice after a 
rise in the river. They have been seen floating on such occasions in 
groups of three, four, and sometimes eight or ten together, although on 
separate cakes of ice. A few stragglers have been known to reach the 
shore in an almost exhausted state, but the majority perish from cold and 
want of food rather than trust themselves boldly to the turbulent waters. 

Buffalo calves are often drowned, from being unable to ascend the steep 
banks of the rivers across which they have just swam, as the cows cannot 
help them, although they stand near the bank, and will not leave them to 
their fate unless something alarms them. 



On one occasion Mr. Kipp, of the American Fur Company, caught eleven 
calves, their dams all the time standing near the top of the bank. Fre- 
quently, however, the cows leave the young to their fate, when most of 
them perish. In connection with this part of the subject, we may add, 
that we were informed when on the Upper Missouri river, that when the 
brinks of that river were practicable for cows, and their calves could not 
follow them, they went down again, after having gained the top, and 
would remain by them until forced away by the cravings of hunger. 
When thus forced by the necessity of saving themselves to quit their 
young, they seldom, if ever, returned to them. 

When a large herd of these wild animals are crossing a river, the calves 
or yearlings manage to get on the backs of the cows, and are thus con- 
veyed safely over ; but when the heavy animals, old and young, reach the 
shore, they sometimes find it muddy or even deeply miry : the strength of 
the old ones struggling in such cases to gain a solid footing, enables them 
to work tlieir way out of danger in a wonderfully short time. Old bulls, 
indeed, have been known to extricate themselves when they had got into 
the mire so deep that but. little more than their heads and hacks could be 
seen. On one occasion we saw an unfortunate cow thai had fallen into, 
or rather sank into a quicksand only seven or eight feet wide ; she was 
quite dead, and we walked on her still fresh carcase safely across the ra- 
vine which had buried her in its treacherous and shifting sands. 

The gaits of the Bison are walking, cantering, and galloping, and when 
at full speed, lie can get over the ground nearly as fast as the best horses 
found in the Indian country. In lying down, this species bends the fore- 
legs first, and its movements are almost exactly the same as those of the 
common cow. It also rises with the same kind of action as cattle. 

When surprised in a recumbenl posture by the sudden approach of a 
hunter, who has succeeded in Hearing it under the cover of a hill, clump 
of trees or other interposing object, the Bison springs from the ground and 
is in full race almost as quick as thought, and is so very alert, that one 
can scarcely perceive his manner of rising on such occasions. 

The hulls never grow as fat as the cows, the hitter having been occa- 
sionally killed with as much as two inches of fat on the boss or hump and 
along the back to the tail. The fat rarely exceeds half an inch on tin- 
sides or ribs, but is thicker on the belly. The males have only one inch 
of fat, and their flesh is never considered equal to that of the females in de- 
Lioacy or flavour. In a herd of Buffaloes many are poor, and even at the 
best season it is not likely that all will be found in good condition ; and we 

have occasionally known a hunting party, when Buffalo was scarce, com- 
pelled to feed on a straggling old hull as tough as leather. For ourselves, this 


was rather uncomfortable, as we had unfortunately lost our molars long 

The Bison is sometimes more abundant in particular districts one year 
than another, and is probably influenced in its wanderings by the mildness 
or severity of the weather, as well as by the choice it makes of the best 
pasturage and most quiet portions of the prairies. While we were at Fort 
Union, the hunters were during the month of June obliged to go out twenty- 
five or thirty miles to procure Buffalo meat, although at other times, the 
animal was quite abundant in sight of the fort. The tramping of a large 
herd, in wet weather, cuts up the soft clayey soil of the river bottoms, (we 
do not not mean the bottom of rivers,) into a complete mush. One day 
when on our journey up the Missouri river, we landed on one of the nar- 
row strips of land called bottoms, which formed the margin of the river 
and was backed by hills of considerable height at a short distance. At 
this spot the tracks of these animals were literally innumerable, as 
far as the eye could reach in every direction, the plain was covered with 
them ; and in some places the soil had been so trampled as to resemble 
mud or clay, when prepared for making bricks. The trees in the vicinity 
were rubbed by these buffaloes, and their hair and wool were hanging on 
the rough bark or lying at their roots. We collected some of this wool, we 
think it might be usefully worked up into coarse cloth, and consider it 
worth attention. The roads that are made by these animals, so much re- 
semble the tracks left by a large wagon-train, that the inexperienced 
traveller may occasionally imagine himself following the course of an or- 
dinary wagon-road. These great tracks run for hundreds of miles across 
the prairies, and are usually found to lead to some salt-spring, or some 
river or creek, where the animals can allay their thirst. 

The captain of the steamboat on which we ascended the Missouri, inform- 
ed us, that on his last annual voyage up that river, he had caught several 
Buffaloes, that were swimming the river. The boat was run close upon 
them, they were lassoed by a Spaniard, who happened to be on board, and 
then hoisted on the deck, where they were butchered secundum artem. One 
day we saw several that had taken to the water, and were coming towards 
our boat. We passed so near them, that we fired at them, but did not pro- 
cure a single one. On another occasion, one was killed from the shore, and 
brought on board, when it was immediately divided among the men. We 
were greatly surprised to see some of the Indians, that were going up with 
us, ask for certain portions of the entrails, which they devoured with the 
greatest voracity. This gluttony excited our curiosity, and being always 
willing to ascertain the quality of any sort of meat, we tasted some of this 


sort of tripe, and found it very good, although at first its appearance was 
rather revolting. 

The Indiana sometimes eat the carcasses of Buffaloes that have been 
drowned, and some of those on board the Omega one day asked the cap- 
tain most earnestly to allow them to land and get at the bodies of three 
Buffaloes which we passed, that had lodged among the drift-logs and were 
probably half putrid. In this extraordinary request some of the squaws 
joined. That, when stimulated by the gnawings of hunger, Indians, or even 
Whites, should feed upon carrion, is not to be wondered at, since we have 
many instances of cannibalism and other horrors, when men are in a state 
of starvation, but these Indians were in the midst of plenty of wholesome 
food and we are inclined to think their hankering after this disgusting 
flesh must he attributed to a natural taste for it, probably acquired when 
young, as they are no doubt sometimes obliged in their wanderings over the 
prairies in winter, to devour carrion and even bones and hides, to preserve 
their lives. In the height of the rutting-season, the flesh of the Buffalo bull is 
quite rank, and unfit to be eaten, except from necessity, and at this time 
the animal can be scented at a considerable distance. 

When a herd of Bisons is chased, although the bulls run with great swift- 
ness their speed cannot be compared with that of the cows and yearling; 
calves. These, in a few moraents leave the bulls behind them, but as they 
are greatly preferred by the hunter, he always (if well mounted) pursues 
them and allows the bulls to escape. During the winter of 1842 and 43, 
as we were told, Buffaloes were abundant around Fort Union, and during 
the night picked up straggling handfuls of hay that happened to be 
scattered about the place. An attempt was made to secure some of them 
alive, by strewing hay as a bait, from the interior of the old fort, which 
is about two hundred yards off", to some distance from the gateway, hoping 
the animals would feed along into the enclosure. They ate the hay to the 
very gate ; but as the hogs and common cattle were regularly placed there, 
for security, during the night, the Buffaloes would not enter, probably on 
account of the various odours issuing from the interior. As the Buffaloes 
generally found some hay scattered around, they soon became accustomed 
to sleep in the vicinity of the fort , but went off every morning, and dis- 
appeared behind the hills, about a mile off. 

One night they were fired at, from a four-pounder loaded with musket- 
balls. Three were killed, and several were wounded, but this disaster did 
not prevent them from returning frequently to the fort at night, and they 
were occasionally shot, during the whole winter, quite near the fort. 

As various accounts of Buffalo-hunts have been already written, we 

will pass over our earliest adventures in that way. which occurred many 
vol.. it.— 


years ago, and give you merely a sketch of the mode in which we killed 
them during our journey to the West, in 1843. 

One morning in July, our party and several persons attached to Fort 
Union, (for we were then located there,) crossed the river, landed oppo- 
site the fort, and passing through the rich alluvial belt of woodland which 
margins the river, were early on our way to the adjacent prairie, beyond 
the hills. Our equipment consisted of an old Jersey wagon, to which we 
had two horses attached, tandem, driven by Mr. Culbertson, principal at 
the fort. This wagon carried Mr. Harris, Bell, and ourselves, and we 
were followed by two carts, which contained the rest of the party, while 
behind came the running horses or hunters, led carefully along. After 
crossing the lower prairie, we ascended between the steep banks of the 
rugged ravines, until we reached the high undulating plains above. On 
turning to take a retrospective view, we beheld the fort and a consider- 
able expanse of broken and prairie-land behind us, and the course of the 
river was seen as it wound along, for some distance. Resuming our ad- 
vance we soon saw a number of antelopes, some of which had young ones 
with them. After travelling about ten miles farther we approached the 
Fox river, and at this point one of the party espied a small herd of Bisons 
at a considerable distance off. Mr. Culbertson, after searching for them 
with the telescope, handed it to us and showed us where they were. They 
were all lying down and appeared perfectly unconscious of the existence 
of our party. Our vehicles and horses were now turned towards them 
and we travelled cautiously to within about a quarter of a mile of the herd, 
covered by a high ridge of land which concealed us from their view. 
The wind was favourable, (blowing towards us,) and now the hunters threw 
aside their coats, tied handkerchiefs around their heads, looked to their 
guns, mounted their steeds, and moved slowly and cautiously towards the 
game. The rest of the party crawled carefully to the top of the ridge to 
see the chase. At the word of command, given by Mr. Culbertson, the 
hunters dashed forward after the bulls, which already began to run off 
in a line nearly parallel with the ridge we were upon. The swift horses, 
urged on by their eager riders and their own impetuosity, soon began to 
overtake the affrighted animals ; two of them separated from the others 
and were pursued by Mr. Culbertson and Mr. Bell ; presently the former 
fired, and we could see that he had wounded one of the bulls. It stopped 
after going a little way and stood with its head hanging down and its 
nose near the ground. The blood appeared to be pouring from its mouth 
and nostrils, and its drooping tail showed the agony of the poor beast. 
Yet it stood firm, and its sturdy legs upheld its ponderous body as if nought 
had happened. We hastened toward it but ere we approached the spot, 


the wounded animal tell, rolled on its side, and expired. It was quite dead 
when we reached it. In the mean time Mr. Bell had continued in hot 
haste after the other, and Mr. Harris and Mr. SauntE had each selected, 
and were following one ol* the main party. Mr. Bull shot, and his ball 
took effect in the buttocks of the animal. At this moment Mr. Sm ire's 
horse threw him over his head fully ten feet : he fell on his powder-horn 
and was severely bruised: he called to some one to stop his horse and was 
soon on his legs, but felt sick for a few moments. Friend Harris, who 
was perfectly cool, ueared his bull, shot it through the lungs, and it 
fell dead on the spot. Mr. Bell was slill in pursuit of his wounded ani- 
mal and Mr. Harris and Mr. SaufRE joined and followed the fourth, which, 
however, was soon out of sight, We saw Mr. Bell shoot two or three 
times, and heard suns tired, either by Mr. Harris or Mr. SauiRE, but the 
weal her was so hot that fearful of injuring their horses they were 
obliged to allow the bull they pursued to escape. The one shot by Mr. 
Bell, tumbled upon his knees, got up again, and rushed on one of the 
hunters, who shot it once more, when it. paused, and almost immediately 
fell dead. 

The Mesh of the Bulfaloes thus killed was sent to the fort in the cart, and 
we continued our route and passed the night on the prairie, at a spot 
about halfway between the Yellow-Stone and the Missouri rivers. Here, 
just before sundown, seven more bulls were discovered by the hunters, and 
Mi. Harris, Air. Bell and Mr. Culbertson each killed one. In this part 
of ihe prairie we observed several burrows made by the swift, fox, but. 
could not see any of those animals although we watched for some time 
in hopes of doing so. They probably scented our party and would not ap- 
proach. The hunters on the prairies, either from hunger or because they 
have not a very delicate appetite, sometimes break in the skull of a buffalo 
and cat the brains raw. At sunrise we were all up, and soon had our coffee, 
after which a mulatto man called Lafleur, an excellent hunter at- 
tached to the American Fur-Company, accompanied Mr. Harris and Mr. 
Bell on a hunt for antelopes, as we wanted no more Buffaloes. After 
waiting the return of the party, who came back unsuccessful, we broke 
up our camp and turned our steps homeward. 

The Buffalo bulls which have been with their fair ones are at this 
season wretchedly poor, but some of them, which appear not to have much 
fondness for the latter, or may have been driven off by their rivals, are 
in pretty good condition. The prairies are in some places whitened with 
the skulls of the Buffalo, dried and bleached by the summer's sun and the 
frosts and snows of those severe latitudes in winter. Thousands are killed 


merely for their tongues, and their large carcasses remain to feed the 
wolves and other rapacious prowlers on the grassy wastes. 

A large Bison bull will generally weigh nearly two thousand pounds, 
and a fat cow, about twelve hundred. We weighed one of the bulls killed 
by our party and found it to reach seventeen hundred and twenty seven 
pounds, although it had already lost a good deal of blood. This was an 
old bull and was not fat ; it had probably weighed more at some previous 
period. We were told that at this season a great many half-breed In- 
dians were engaged in killing Buffaloes and curing their flesh for winter - 
use, on Moose river, about 200 miles north of us. 

When these animals are shot at a distance of fifty or sixty yards, they 
rarely, if ever, charge on the hunters. Mr. Culbertson told us he had 
killed as many as nine bulls from the same spot, unseen by these terrible 
animals. There are times, however, when they have been known to gore 
both horse and rider, after being severely wounded, and have dropped down 
dead but a few minutes afterwards. There are indeed instances of bulls 
receiving many balls without being immediately killed, and we saw one 
which during one of our hunts was shot no less than twenty- four times be- 
fore it dropped. 

A bull that our party had wounded in the shoulder, and which was 
thought too badly hurt to do much harm to any one, was found rather dan- 
gerous when we approached him, as he would dart forward at the nearest 
of his foes, and but that his wound prevented him from wheeling and turn- 
ing rapidly, he would certainly have done some mischief. We fired at him 
from our six-barrelled revolving pistol, which, however, seemed to have 
little other effect than to render him more savage and furious. His ap- 
pearance was well calculated to appal the bravest, had we not felt assured 
that his strength was fast diminishing. We ourselves were a little too 
confident, and narrowly escaped being overtaken by him through our im- 
prudence. We placed ourselves directly in his front, and as he advanced, 
fired at his head and ran back, not supposing that he could overtake us ; 
but he soon got within a few feet of our rear, with head lowered, and 
every preparation made for giving us a hoist ; the next instant, however, 
we had jumped aside, and the animal was unable to alter his headlong 
course quick enough to avenge himself on us. Mr. Bell now put a ball 
directly through his lungs, and with a gush of blood from the mouth and 
nostrils, he fell upon his knees and gave up the ghost, falling (as 
usual) on the side, quite dead. 

On another occasion, when the same party were hunting near the end 
of the month of July, Mr. SauiRE wounded a bull twice, but no blood flow- 
ing from the mouth, it was concluded the wounds were only in the flesh. 

BUFFALO. 4,", 

and the animal was shot by Mr. Culbertsgn, Owen McKenzie, and ^Ir. 
Suuire, again. This renewed fire only seemed to enrage him the more, 
and he made a dash at the hunters so sudden and unexpected, that Mr. 
Sqi'ire, attempting to escape, rode between the beast and a ravine which 
was near, when the bull turned upon him, his horse became frightened 
and leaped down the bank, the Buffalo following him so closely that he 
was nearly unhorsed ; he lost his presence of mind and dropped liis gun; 
he. however, fortunately hung on by the mane and recovered his seat. 
The horse was the fleetest, and saved his life. lie told us subsequently 
that he had never been so terrified before. This bull was fired at several 
times after Squire's adventure, and was found to have twelve balls lodged 
in him when lie was killed, lie was in very bad condition, and being in 
the rutting season we found the flesh too rank for our dainty palates and 
only took the tongue with us. 

Soon afterwards we killed a cow in company with many bulls and 
were at first afraid that they would charge upon us. which in similar 
eases they frequently do, but our party was too large and they did not 
venture near, although their angry bellowings and their unwillingness to 
leave the spot showed their rage at parting with her. As the sun was 
now sinking fast towards the horizon on the extended prairie, we soon be- 
gan to make our way toward the camping ground and passed within a 
moderate distance of a large herd of Buffaloes, which we did not stop to 
molest hut increasing our speed reached our quarters for the night, just as 
the shadows of the western plain indicated that we should not behold 
the orb of day until the morrow. 

Our camp was near three conical hills called the Mamelles, only about 
thirty miles from Fort Union, although we had travelled nearly fifty by 
the time we reached the spot. Alter unloading and unsaddling our tired 
beasts, all hands assisted in getting wood and bringing water, and we 
were soon quietly enjoying a cup of coffee. The time of refreshment to 
the weary hunter is always one of interest : the group of stalwart frames 
stretched in various attitudes around or near the blazing watch-fires, re- 
calls to our minds the masterpieces of the great delineators of night scenes ; 
and we have often at such times beheld living pictures, far surpassing 
any of those contained in the galleries of Europe. 

There were si'_rns of grizzly bears around us, and during the night we 
heard a number of wolves howling among the bushes in the vicinity. The 
service berry was abundant and we ate a good many of them, and after a 
hasty preparation in the morning, started again alter the Buffaloes we had 
Seen the previous evening. Having rode tor some time, one of our party who 
was in advance as a scout, made the customary signal from the top of a 


high hill, that Buffaloes were in sight ; this is doneby walking the hunter's 
horse backward and forward several times. We hurried on and found 
our scout lying close to his horse's neck, as if asleep on the back of the ani- 
mal. He pointed out where he had discovered the game, but they had 
gone out of sight, and (as he said) were travelling fast, the herd being 
composed of both bulls and cows. The hunters mounted at once, and gal- 
loped on in rapid pursuit, while we followed more leisurely over hills and 
plains and across ravines and broken ground, at the risk of our necks. 
Now and then we could see the hunters, and occasionally the Buffaloes, 
which had taken a direction toward the Fort. At last we reached an emi- 
nence from which we saw the hunters approaching the Buffaloes in order 
to begin the chase in earnest. It seems that there is no etiquette among 
Buffalo hunters, and this not being understood beforehand by our friend 
Harris, he was disappointed in his wish to kill a cow. The country was 
not as favourable to the hunters as it was to the flying herd. The females 
separated from the males, and the latter turned in our direction and passed 
within a few hundred yards of us without our being able to fire at them. 
Indeed we willingly suffered them to pass unmolested, as they are always 
very dangerous when they have been parted from the cows. Only one 
female was killed on this occasion. On our way homeward we made 
towards the coupee, an opening in the hills, where we expected to find 
water for our horses and mules, as our supply of Missouri water was only 
enough for ourselves. 

The water found on these prairies is generally unfit to drink, (unless as 
a matter of necessity,) and we most frequently carried eight or ten gallons 
from the river, on our journey through the plains. We did not find water 
where we expected, and were obliged to proceed about two miles to the 
eastward, where we luckily found a puddle sufficient for the wants of our 
horses and mules. There was not a bush in sight at this place, and we 
collected Buffalo dung to make a fire to cook with. In the winter this 
prairie fuel is often too wet to burn, and the hunters and Indians have to 
eat their meat raw. It can however hardly be new to our readers to hear 
that they are often glad to get any thing, either raw or cooked, when in this 
desolate region. 

Young Buffalo bulls are sometimes castrated by the Indians, as we were 
told, for the purpose of rendering them larger and fatter ; and we were in- 
formed, that when full grown they have been shot, and found to be far su- 
perior to others in the herd, in size as well as flavour. During severe 
winters the Buffaloes become very poor, and when the snow has covered 
the ground for several months to the depth of two or three feet, they are 
wretched objects to behold. They frequently in this emaciated state lose 


their hair and become covered with scabs ; and the magpies alight on their 
backs and pick the sores- The poor animals in these dreadful seasons die 
in great numbers. 

A singular trait in the Buffalo when caught young.was related to us, as 
follows : When a calf is taken, if the person who captures it places one of 
his fingers in its mouth, it will follow him afterwards, whether on foot or 
on horseback, for several miles. 

We now give a few notes from our journal kept at Fort Union, which 
may interest our readers- 
August 7th, 1843, a Buffalo cow was killed and brought into the fori. 
and to the astonishment of all, was found to be near her time of calving. 
This was an extraordinary circumstance at that season of the year. 

August 8th, The young Buffaloes have commenced shedding their first 
(or red) coat of hair, which drops off in patches about the size of the palm 
ill :i man's hand. The new hair is dark brownish black- We caught one 
of these calves with a lasso, and had several men to hold him, but on ap- 
proaching to pull off some of the old hair, he kicked and bounced about in 
such a furious manner that we could not get near him. Mr. Cui.bertson 
had it however taken to the press post, and there it was drawn up and 
held so closely that we could handle it, and we tore off some pieces of its 
old pelage, which hung to the side with surprising tenacity. 

The process of butchering or cutting up the carcass of the Buffalo is 
generally performed in a slovenly and disgusting manner by the hunters, 
and the choicest parts only arc saved, unless food is scarce. The liver and 
brains are eagerly sought for, and the hump is excellent when broiled. 
The pieces of flesh from the sides are called by the French, fillets, or the 
depouille; the marrow bones are sometimes cut out. and the paunch is 
Stripped of its covering of fat. 

Some idea of the immense number of Bisons to be still seen on the wild 
prairies, may be formed from the following account, given to us by Mr. 
Kiip, one of the principals of the American Fur Company. " While he 
was travelling from Travers' Bay to the Mandan nation in the month of 
August, in a cart heavily laden, he passed through herds of Buffalo for six 
days in succession. At another time he saw the great prairie near Fort 
(lark on the Missouri river, almost blackened by these animals, which co- 
vered the plain to the hills that bounded the view in all directions, and pro- 
bably extended farther. 

When the Bisons first see a person, whether white or red, they trot or 
canter off forty or fifty yards, and then stop suddenly, turn their heads and 
gaze on their foe for a few moments, then take a course and go off at full 
speed until oul of Bight, ami beyond the scenl of man. 


Although large, heavy, and comparatively clumsy, the Bison is at times 
brisk and frolicksome, and these huge animals often play and gambol about, 
kicking their heels in the air with surprising agility, and throwing their 
hinder parts to the right and left alternately, or from one side to the other, 
their heels the while flying about and their tails whisking in the air. They 
are very impatient in the fly and mosquito season, and are often seen kick- 
ing and running against the wind to rid themselves of these tormentors. 

The different Indian tribes hunt the Buffalo in various ways : some pur- 
sue them on horseback and shoot them with arrows, which they point with 
old bits of iron, or old knife blades. They are rarely expert in loading or re- 
loading guns, (even if they have them,) but in the closely contested race 
between their horse and the animal, they prefer the rifle to the bow and 
arrow. Other tribes follow them with patient perseverance on foot, until 
they come within shooting distance, or kill them by stratagem. 

The Mandan Indians chase the Buffalo in parties of from twenty to fifty, 
and each man is provided with two horses, one of which he rides, and the 
other being trained expressly for the chase, is led to the place where the 
Buffaloes are started. The hunters are armed with bows and arrows, their 
quivers containing from thirty to fifty arrows according to the wealth of 
the owner. When they come in sight of their game, they quit the horses 
on which they have ridden, mount those led for them, ply the whip, soon 
gain the flank or even the centre of the herd, and shoot their arrows into 
the fattest, according to their fancy. When a Buffalo has been shot, if the 
blood flows from the nose or mouth, he is considered mortally wounded ; 
if not, they shoot a second or a third arrow into the wounded animal. 

The Buffalo, when first started by the hunters, carries his tail close 
down between the legs ; but when wounded, he switches his tail about, espe- 
cially if intending to fight his pursuer, and it behooves the hunter to watch 
these movements closely, as the horse will often shy, and without due care 
the rider may be thrown, which when in a herd of Buffalo is almost certain 
death. An arrow will kill a Buffalo instantly if it takes effect in the heart, 
but if it does not reach the right spot, a dozen arrows will not even arrest one 
in his course, and of the wounded, many run out of sight and are lost to the 

At times the wounded Bison turns so quickly and makes such a sudden 
rush upon the hunter, that if the steed is not a good one and the rider per- 
fectly cool, they are overtaken, the horse gored and knocked down, and 
the hunter thrown off and either gored or trampled to death. But if the 
horse is a fleet one, and the hunter expert, the Bison is easily outrun and 
they escape. At best it may be said that this mode of Buffalo hunting is 



dangerous sport, and one requires both skill and nerve to come off success- 

The Gros Ventres, Blackfeet and Assinaboines often take the Buffalo in 
large pens, usually called parks, constructed in the following manner. 

Two converging fences built of sticks logs and brushwood are made, 
leading to the mouth of a pen somewhat in the shape of a funnel. The 
pen itself is either square or round, according to the nature of the ground 
where it is to be placed, at the narrow end of the funnel, which is always 
on the verge of a sudden break or precipice in the prairie ten or fifteen feet 
deep, and is made as strong as possible. When this trap is completed, a 
young man very swift of foot starts at daylight, provided with a Bison's 
hide and head, to cover his body and head when he approaches the herd 
that is to betaken, on nearing which he bleats like a young Buffalo calf, 
and makes his way slowly towards the mouth of the converging fences 
leading to the pen. He repeats this cry at intervals, the Buffaloes follow 
the decoy, and a dozen or more, of mounted Indians at some distance behind 
the herd gallop from one side to the other on both their flanks, urging them 
by this means to enter the funnel, which having done, a crowd of men wo- 
men and children come and assist in frightening them, and as soon as they 
have fairly entered the road to the pen beneath the precipice, the disguised 
Indian, still bleating occasionally, runs to the edge of the precipice, quickly 
descends, and makes his escape, climbing over the barricade or fence of t he 
pen beneath, while the herd follow on till the leader (probably an old bull) 
is forced to leap down into the pen, and is followed by the whole herd, which 
is thus ensnared, and easily destroyed even by the women and children, 
as there is no means of escape for them. 

This method of capturing the Bison is especially resorted to in October 
and November, as the hide is at that season in good condition and saleable, 
and the meat can be preserved for the winter supply. When the Indians 
have thus driven a herd of Buffalo into a pen, the warriors all assemble 
by the side of the enclosure, the pipe is lighted, and the chiefs smoke to the 
honour of the Great Spirit, to the four points of the compass, and to the 
herd of Bisons. As soon as this ceremony has ended, the destruction com- 
mences, guns are fired and arrows shot from every direction at the devot- 
ed animals, and the whole herd is slaughtered before the Indians enter the 
space where the Buffaloes have become their victims. Even the children 
shoot tiny arrows at them when thus captured, and try the strength of theii 
young arms upon them. 

It sometimes happens, however, that the leader of the herd becomes alarm- 
ed and rest less while driving to the precipice, and should the fence be weak, 
breaks through, and the whole drove follow and escape. It also soinr 

VOL. II. — 7. 


times occurs, that after the Bisons are in the pen, which is often so fill- 
ed that they touch each other, the terrified crowd swaying to and 
fro, their weight against the fence breaks it down, and if the smallest 
gap is made, it is immediately widened, when they dash through and 
scamper off, leaving the Indians in dismay and disappointment. The side 
fences for the purpose of leading the Buffaloes to the pens extend at 
times nearly half a mile, and some of the pens cover two or three hun- 
dred yards of ground. It takes much time and labour to construct one 
of these great traps or snares, as the Indians sometimes have to bring 
timber from a considerable distance to make the fences and render 
them strong and efficient. 

The Bison has several enemies : the worst is, of course, man ; then comes 
the grizzly bear ; and next, the wolf. The bear follows them and succeeds 
in destroying a good many ; the wolf hunts them in packs, and commits 
great havoc among them, especially among the calves and the cows 
when calving. Many Buffaloes are killed when they are struggling in the 
mire on the shores of rivers where they sometimes stick fast, so that the 
wolves or bears can attack them to advantage ; eating out their eyes and 
devouring the unresisting animals by piecemeal. 

When we were ascending the Missouri river, the first Buffaloes were 
heard of near Fort Leavenworth, some having a short time before been 
killed within forty miles of that place. We did not, however, see any of 
these animals until we had passed Fort Croghan, but above this point we 
met with them almost daily, either floating dead on the river, or gazing at 
our steamboat from the shore. 

Every part of the Bison is useful to the Indians, and their method of 
making boats, by stretching the rawhide over a sort of bowl-shaped frame 
work, is well known. These boats are generally made by the wo- 
men, and we saw some of them at the Mandan village. The horns are 
made into drinking vessels, ladles, and spoons. The skins form a good 
bed, or admirable covering from the cold, and the flesh is excellent food, 
whether fresh or dried or made into pemmican ; the fat is reduced and 
put up in bladders, and in some cases used for frying fish, &c. 

The hide of the Buffalo is tanned or dressed altogether by the women, 
or squaws, and the children ; the process is as follows : The skin is first 
hung on a post, and all the adhering flesh taken off with a bone, toothed 
somewhat like a saw ; this is performed by scraping the skin down- 
wards, and requires considerable labour. The hide is then stretched on 
the ground and fastened down with pegs ; it is then allowed to remain 
till dry, which is usually the case in a day or two. After it is dry- 
the flesh side is pared down with the blade of a knife fastened in a 



bone, called a grate, which renders the skin even and takes off about a 
quarter of its thickness. The hair is taken off with the same instrument 
and these operations being performed, and the skin reduced to a proper 
thickness, it is covered over either with brains, liver or srease, and left for a 
night. The next day the skin is rubbed and scraped either in the sun or 
by a fire, until the greasy matter has been worked into it, and it is nearly 
dry ; then a cord is fastened to two poles and over this the skin is thrown, 
and pulled, rubbed and worked until quite dry ; after which it is sewed to- 
gether around the edges excepting at one end ; a smoke is made with rot- 
ten wood in a hole dug in the earth, and the skin is suspended over it, on 
sticks set up like a tripod, and thoroughly smoked, which completes the tan- 
ning and renders the skin able to bear wet without losing its softness or 
pliability afterwards. 

Buffalo robes are dressed in the same manner, only that the hair is not 
removed and they are not smoked. They are generally divided into two 
parts : a strip is taken from each half on the back of the skin where the 
hump was, and the two halves, or sides, are sewed together after they are 
dressed, with thread made of the sinews of the animal ; which process be- 
ing finished, the robe is complete and ready for market. 

The scrapings of the skins, we were informed, are sometimes boiled with 
berries, and make a kind of jelly which is considered good food in some 
cases by the Indians. The strips cut off from the skins are sewed togeth- 
er and make robes for the children, or caps, mittens, shoes, &c. The 
bones are pounded fine with a large stone and boiled, the grease which 
rises to the top is skimmed oft" and put into bladders. This is the favourite 
and famous marrow grease, which is equal to butter. The sinews are used 
for stringing their bows, and are a substitute for thread ; the intestines 
are eaten, the shoulder-blades made into hoes, and in fact (as we have al- 
ready stated) nothing is lost or wasted, but every portion of the animal, by 
the skill and industry of the Indians, is rendered useful. 

Halls are found in the stomach of the Buffalo, as in our common domes- 
tic cattle. 

Having heard frequent discussions respecting the breeding of the Bison 
in a domesticated state, and knowing that Robert Wickliffe, Esq., of Ken- 
tucky, had raised some of these animals, we requested his son, then on his 
way to Europe, to ask that gentleman to give us some account of their ha- 
bits under his care, and shortly afterwards received a letter from him, da- 
ted Lexington Nov. fith, 1843, in which he gives an interesting account 
of the Bison breeding with the common cow, and other particulars con- 
nected with this animal. After expressing his desire to comply with our 
request intimated to him by bis son. he proceeds to give US the following 


information : " as far," he writes, " as his limited knowledge of natural history 
and his attention to these animals will permit him to do." He proceeds : 
" The herd of Buffalo I now possess have descended from one or two cows that 
I purchased from a man who brought them from the country called the Up- 
per Missouri; I have had them for about thirty years, but from giving them 
away and the occasional killing of them by mischievous persons, as well 
as other causes, my whole stock at this time does not exceed ten or twelve. 
I have sometimes confined them in separate parks from other cattle, but 
generally they herd and feed with my stock of farm cattle. They graze 
in company with them as gently as the others. The Buffalo cows, I think, 
go with young about the same time the common cow does, and produce 
once a year ; none of mine have ever had more than one at a birth. The 
approach of the sexes is similar to that of the common bull and cow under 
similar circumstances at all times when the cow is in heat, a period 
which seems, as with the common cow, confined neither to day, nor night, 
nor any particular season, and the cows bring forth their young of course at 
different times and seasons of the year, the same as our domesticated cattle. 
I do not find my Buffaloes more furious or wild than the common cattle 
of the same age that graze with them. 

" Although the Buffalo, like the domestic cow, brings forth its young at 
different seasons of the year, this I attribute to the effect of domestication, 
as it is different with all animals in a state of nature. I have always heard 
their time for calving in our latitude was from March until July, and it is 
very obviously the season which nature assigns for the increase of both 
races, as most of my calves were from the Buffaloes and common cows at 
this season. On getting possession of the tame Buffalo, I endeavoured to 
cross them as much as I could with my common cows, to which experi- 
ment I found the tame or common bull unwilling to accede, and he was al- 
ways shy of a Buffalo cow, but the Buffalo bull was willing to breed with 
the common cow. 

" From the domestic cow I have several half breeds, one of which was a 
heifer ; this I put with a domestic bull, and it produced a bull calf. This I 
castrated, and it made a very fine steer, and when killed produced very fine 
beef. I bred from the same heifer several calves, and then, that the experi- 
ment might be perfect, I put one of them to the Buffalo bull, and she 
brought me a bull calf which I raised to be a very fine large animal, per- 
haps the only one to be met with in the world of his blood, viz., a three quar- 
ter, half quarter, and half quarter of the common blood. After making 
these experiments, I have left them to propagate their breed themselves, 
so that I have only had a few half breeds, and they always prove the same, 
even by a Buffalo bull. The full blood is not as large as the improved 



stock, but as large as the ordinary cattle of the country. The crossed or 
half blood are larger than cither the Buffalo or common cow. The hump 
brisket, ribs and tongue of the full and half blooded are preferable to those 
of the common beef, but the round and other parts arc much inferior. The 
udder or bag of the Buffalo is smaller than that of the common cow, but I 
have allowed the calves of both to run with their dams upon the same pas- 
ture, and those of the Buffalo were always the fattest ; and old hunters have 
told me, that when a young Buffalo calf is taken, it requires the milk of two 
common cows to raise it. Of this I have no doubt, having received the 
same information from hunters of the greatest veracity. The bag or ud- 
der of the half breed is larger than that of full blooded animals, and they 
would, I have no doubt, make good milkers. 

" The wool of the wild Buffalo grows on their descendants when domesti- 
cated, but I think they have less of wool than their progenitors. The do- 
mesticated Buffalo still retains the grunt of the wild animal, and is incapa- 
ble of making any other noise, and they still observe the habit of having 
select places within their feeding grounds to wallow in. 

"The Buffalo has a much deeper shoulder than the tame ox, but is light- 
er behind. He walks more actively than the latter, and I think has more 
strength than a common ox of the same weight. I have broke them to the 
yoke, and found them capable of making excellent oxen ; and for draw- 
ins; wagons, carts, or other heavily laden vehicles on long journeys, they 
would, I think, be greatly preferable to the common ox. I have as yet 
had no opportunity of testing the longevity of the Buffalo, as all mine that 
have died, did so from accident or were killed because they became aged. 
1 have some cows that are nearly twenty years old, that arc healthy and 
vigorous, and one of them has now a sucking calf. 

" The young Buffalo calf is of a sandy red or rufous colour, and com- 
mences changing to a dark brown at about six months old, which las) colour 
il always retains. The mixed breeds are of various colours ; I have had 
them striped with black, on a graj ground like the zebra, some of them 
brindled red, some pure red with white faces, and others red without any 
markings of white. The mixed bloods have not only produced in my stock 
from the tame and the Buffalo bull, but I have seen the half bloods repro- 
ducing; viz. : those that were the product of (he common cow and wild 

Buffalo bull. I was informed that atthefirsl settlement of the country, 

cows that were considered the best for milking, were from the hall' blood, 
down to the quarter, and even eighth of the Buffalo blood. But my experi- 
ments have not satisfied me that the half Buffalo bull will produce 
again. That the half breed heifer will be productive from either race, as 
I have before stated, [have tested beyond the possibility of a doubt. 


" The domesticated Buffalo retains the same haughty bearing that dis- 
tinguishes him in his natural state. He will, however, feed or fatten on 
whatever suits the tame cow, and requires about the same amount of 
food. I have never milked either the full blood or mixed breed, but 
have no doubt they might be made good milkers, although their bags 
or udders are less than those of the common cow ; yet from the strength 
of the calf, the dam must yield as much or even more milk than the 
common cow." 

Since reading the above letter, we recollect that the Buffalo calves 
that were kept at Fort Union, though well fed every day, were in 
the habit of sucking each other's ears for hours together. 

There exists a singular variety of the Bison, which is however very 
scarce, and the skin of which is called by both the hunters and fur 
traders a " beaver robe." These are valued so highly that some have 
sold for more than three hundred dollars. Of this variety Mr. Cul- 
bertson had the goodness to present us with a superb specimen, 
which we had lined with cloth, and find a most excellent defence 
against the cold, whilst driving in our wagon during the severity of 
our northern winters. 


The range of the Bison is still very extensive ; but although it was 
once met with on the Atlantic coast, it has, like many others, receded 
and gone west and south, driven onward by the march of civilization 
and the advance of the axe and plough. His habits, as we have seen, 
are migratory, and the extreme northern and southern limits of the wan- 
dering herds not exactly defined. Authors state, that at the time of the 
first settlement of Canada it was not known in that country, and 
Sagard Theodat mentions having heard that bulls existed in the far west, 
but. saw none himself. According to Dr. Richardson, Great Slave Lake, 
latitude GO , was at one time the northern boundary of their range; 
but of late years, according to the testimony of the natives, they have 
taken possession of the flat limestone district of Slave Point on the north 
side of that lake, and have wandered to the vicinity of Great Marten 
Lake, in latitude 63° or 64°. The Bison was not known formerly to 
the north of the Columbia river on the Pacific coast, and Lewis and 
Clark found Buffalo robes were an important article of traffic between 
the inhabitants of the east side and those west of the Rocky mountains. 

The Bison is spoken of by Hernandez as being found in New Spain 
or Mexico, and it probably extended farther south. Lawson speaks of 


two Buffaloes that were killed in one season on Cape Fear river, in 
North Carolina. The Bison formerly existed in South Carolina on the 
seaboard, and we were informed that from the last herd seen in that State, 
two were killed in the vicinity of Columbia. It thus appears that at one 
period this animal ranged over nearly the whole of North America. 

At the present time, the Buffalo is found in vast herds in some of the 
great prairies, and scattered more sparsely nearly over the whole length 
and breadth of the valleys east and west that adjoin the Rocky Moun- 
tain chain 



White Weasel. — Stoat. 
PLATE LIX — Male ant Female in summer pelage. 
P. Hyeme alba ; aestate supra rutila, infra alba caudae apice nigro. 


While, in winter ; in summer, brown above, white beneath ; tip of the tail, 


Mustela Erminea, Briss. Regne An., p. 243, 2. 

" Linn., Syst. Nat., 12. L, p. 68. 1. 

" " Schreb., Saugth., p. 496, 11 t. 137. 

Erxleben Syst., p. 474, 13. 
Vivera Erminea, Shaw, Gen. Zool., i., 2 p. 42C t. 99. 

" " Pennant, Arctic Zoology, i., p. 75. 

IIermine, Buffon, C. C, p. 240, t. 
Mustela Erminea, Parry's First Voyage, Sup. 135. 
" " Parry's Second Voy., App. 294. 

" " Franklin's First Journey, p. 652. 

Godman, Ame. Nat. Hist, vol. i., p. 193, fig. 1. 
" " Harlan, p.62. 

Putorius Noveboracensis, Dekay, Nat. Hist. New- York, p. 36. 


Body, long and slender, with a convex nose and forehead ; limbs, short, 
and rather stout ; tail, long and cylindrical ; moustaches, long, extending 
beyond the ears ; ears, low, broad and round, do not entirely surround the 
auditory opening, sparingly covered with short hairs on both surfaces. 
There are five toes on each foot, the inner toe much the shortest ; the 
toes are clothed with hairs, covering the nails ; fur, soft and short ; tail, 
hairy, and bushy at the end. There are two glands situated on each side 
of the under surface of the tail, which contain an offensive white musky 












In winter, in the latitude of Pennsylvania and New- York, all the hairs 
are snowy white from the roots, except, those on the end of the tail, which 
for about one and three-fourth inches is black. We received specimens from 
Virginia obtained in January, in which the colours on the back had under- 
gone no change, and remained brown ; and from the upper and middle dis- 
tricts of South Carolina killed at the same period, when no change had taken 
place, and it was stated that this, the only species of Weasel found there, 
remained brown through the whole year. These specimens are now in our 
possession, and we have arrived at the conclusion that the farther South we 
advance, the less perfect is the change from brown to white. We have spe- 
cimens from Long Island, obtained in winter, which retain shades of brown 
on the head and dorsal line. Those from the valleys of the Virginia 
mountains have broad stripes of brown on the back, and specimens from Ab- 
beville and Lexington, S. Carolina, have not undergone the slightest change. 
We were informed by our friend Mr. Brompield an eminent botanist of 
England, that in the Isle of Wight, the place of his residence, the Ermine 
underwent only a partial change in winter. 

In summer, the upper surface of the body is of a chesnut-brown colour, 
a little darker on the dorsal line ; under surface, the upper lips to the 
nose, chin, throat, inner surfaces of legs, and belly, white ; the line sepa- 
rating the colour of the back from that on the under surface, is very <lis- 
tinct, but irregular, and in some specimens, the white on the belly extends 
further up along the sides than in others. Whiskers white and black ; 
the former preponderating; end of tail, as in winter, black. 




Old male. 

Nose to root of tail, 10£ 

Tail (vertebrae), -------- 5^ 

" to end of hair, 7 

Breadth between the ears, ----.. 

Length of head, 2 

Stretch of legs from end, to end of claws, 14 
Length of hind foot, to end of nails, - - - - I £ 

fore-foot, to " " 1| 

Black tip of tail, ------- 3 

W'l 11 •* 



The name of Ermine is associated with the pride of state and luxury, 
its fur having from time immemorial been the favourite ornament of the 
robes of princes, judges and prelates. From its snowy whiteness it is 
emblematic of the purity which they ought to possess. 

To us the Ermine, in its winter dress, has always appeared strikingly 
beautiful. On a wintry day, when the earth was covered with a broad 
sheet of snow, our attention has sometimes been arrested by this little ani- 
mal peering out from a log heap, or the crevices of a stone fence ; its eyes 
in certain shades of light appearing like sapphires, its colour vieing in white- 
ness and brilliancy with the snowy mantle of the surrounding landscape. 

Graceful in form, rapid in his movements, and of untiring industry, 
he is withal a brave and fearless little fellow; conscious of security 
within the windings of his retreat among the logs, or heap of stones, 
he permits us to approach him to within a few feet, then suddenly with- 
draws his head ; we remain still for a moment, and he once more re- 
turns to his post of observation, watching curiously our every motion, 
seeming willing to claim association so long as we abstain from becoming 
his persecutor. 

Yet with all these external attractions, this little Weasel is fierce and 
bloodthirsty, possessing an intuitive propensity to destroy every animal 
and bird within its reach, some of which, such as the American rabbit, 
the ruffed grouse, and domestic fowl, are ten times its own size. It is a 
notorious and hated depredator of the poultry house, and we have known 
forty well grown fowls to have been killed in one night by a single Er- 
mine. Satiated with the blood of probably a single fowl, the rest, like 
the flock slaughtered by the wolf in the sheepfold, were destroyed in obe- 
dience to a law of nature, an instinctive propensity to kill. We have 
traced the footsteps of this bloodsucking little animal on the snow, pur- 
suing the trail of the American rabbit, and although it could not overtake 
its prey by superior speed, yet the timid hare soon took refuge in the hol- 
low of a tree, or in a hole dug by the marmot, or skunk. Thither it was 
pursued by the Ermine, and destroyed, the skin and other remains at the 
mouth of the burrow bearing evidence of the fact. We observed an Er- 
mine, after having captured a hare of the above species, first behead it and 
then drag the body some twenty yards over the fresh fallen snow, be- 
neath which it was concealed, and the snow tightly pressed over it ; the 
little prowler displaying thereby a habit of which we became aware for 
the first time on that occasion. To avoid a dog that was in close pursuit, 


it mounted a tree and laid itself flat on a limb about twenty feet from 
the ground, from which it was finally shot. We have ascertained by 
successful experiments, repeated more than a hundred times, that the 
Ermine can be employed, in the manner of the ferret of Europe, in 
driving our American rabbit from the burrow into which it has retreat- 
ed. In one instance, the Ermine employed had been captured only a 
few days before, and its canine teeth were tiled in order to prevent its 
destroying the rabbil : .1 cord was placed around its neck to secure 
its return. It pursued the hare through all the windings of its burrow 
and forced it to the mouth, where it could be taken in a net, or by the 
hand. In winter, after a snow storm, the ruffed grouse has a habit of 
plunging into the loose snow, where it remains at times for one or 
two days. In this passive state the Ermine sometimes detects and de- 
stroys it. In an unsuccessful attempt at domesticating this grouse by 
fastening its feet to aboard in the mode adopted with the stool pigeon, 
and placing it high on a shelf, an Ermine which we had kept as a pet, 
found its way by the curtains of tin- window and put an end to our 
experiment by eating oft* the head of our grouse. 

\ol withstanding all these mischievous and destructive habits, it is 
doubtful whether the Ermine is not rather a benefactor than an enemy 
to the farmer, ridding his granaries and fields of many depredators 
on the product of his labour, that would devour ten times the value 
of the poultry and eggs which, at long and uncertain intervals, it 
occasionally destroys. A mission appears to have been assigned it 
by Providence to lessen the rapidly multiplying number of mice of 
various species and the smaller rodentia. 

The white-footed mouse is destructive to the grains in the wheat 
fields and in the stacks, as well as the nurseries of fruit trees. Le Conte's 
pine-mouse is injurious to the Irish and sweet, potato crops, causing 
more to rot by nibbling holes into them than it consumes, and Wilson's 
meadow-mouse lessens our annual product of hay by feeding on the 
grasses, and by its long and tortuous galleries among their roots. 

Wherever an Ermine has taken up its residence, the mice in its vicin- 
ity for half a mile round have been found rapidly to diminish in num- 
ber. Their active little enemy is able to force its thin vermiform bodj 
into the burrows, it follows them to the end of their galleries, and destroys 
whole families. We have on several occasions, after a light snow, fol- 
lowed the trail of this weasel through fields and meadows, and witnessed 
the immense destruction which it occasioned in a single night. It enters 
every hole under stumps, logs, stone heaps and fences, and evidences of 
its bloody deeds an seen in the mutilated remains of the mice scatter e J 


on the snow. The little chipping or ground squirrel, Tamias Lysteri, takes 
up its residence in the vicinity of the grain fields, and is known to car- 
ry off in its cheek pouches vast quantities of wheat and buckwheat, to 
serve as winter stores. The Ermine instinctively discovers these snug re- 
treats, and in the space of a few minutes destroys a whole family of 
these beautiful little Tamice ; without even resting awhile until it has con- 
sumed its now abundant food its appetite craving for more blood, as if 
impelled by an irresistible destiny it proceeds in search of other objects 
on which it may glut its insatiable vampire-like thirst. The Norway rat 
and the common house-mouse take possession of our barns, wheat stacks, 
and granaries, and destroy vast quantities of grain. In some instances 
the farmer is reluctantly compelled to pay even more than a tithe in con- 
tributions towards the support of these pests. Let however an Ermine 
find its way into these barns and granaries, and there take up its winter resi- 
dence, and the havoc which is made among the rats and mice will soon 
be observable. The Ermine pursues them to their farthest retreats, and in 
a few weeks the premises are entirely free from their depredations. 
"We once placed a half domesticated Ermine in an outhouse infested with 
rats, shutting up the holes on the outside to prevent their escape. The 
little animal soon commenced his work of destruction. The squeaking 
of the rats was heard throughout the day. In the evening, it came 
out licking its mouth, and seeming like a hound after a long chase, 
much fatigued. Aboard of the floor was raised to enable us to ascer- 
tain the result of our experiment, and an immense number of rats were 
observed, which, although they had been killed on different parts of the 
building, had been dragged together, forming a compact heap. 

The Ermine is then of immense benefit to the farmer. We are of 
the opinion that it has been over-hated and too indiscriminately perse- 
cuted. If detected in the poultry house, there is some excuse for de- 
stroying it, as, like the dog that has once been caught in the sheepfold, 
it may return to commit farther depredations ; but when it has taken 
up its residence under stone heaps and fences, in his fields, or his barns, 
the farmer would consult his interest by suffering it to remain, as by 
thus inviting it to a home, it will probably destroy more formidable 
enemies, relieve him from many petty annoyances, and save him many 
a bushel of grain. , 

Let us not too hastily condemn the little Ermine for its bloodthirsty 
propensities. It possesses well-developed canine teeth, and obeys an in- 
stinct of nature. Man, with organs not so decidedly carnivorous, and 
possessed of the restraining powers of reason and conscience, often com- 
mits a wanton havoc on the inferior animals, not so much from want of 


food, as from a mere love of sport. The buffalo and the elk he lias 
driven across the Mississippi, and their haunts are now restricted to the 
prairies of the far West. Even now thousands are slaughtered for 
amusement, and their tongues only are used, whilst their carcasses are 
left to the wolves. He fills his game l>n^ with more woodcock, par- 
tridges and snipe, than he requires : his fishing-rod does not remain idle 
even alter he has provided a full meal for his whole family; and our 
youngsters are taught to shoot the little warbler and the sparrow as 
a preparatory training for the destruction of larger game. 

The Ermine is far from being shy in its habits. It is not easily 
alarmed, and becomes tolerably tame when taken young, for we have 
on several occasions succeeded in our attempts at domesticating it, but 
it appeared to us that these pets were not quite as gentle as many 
ferrets that we have seen in Europe. When not kept in confinement, 
they were apt to stray oil' into the fields and woods, and finally be- 
came wild. The tracks of this species on the snow are peculiar, cxhibit- 
ing only two footprints, placed near each other, the succeeding tracks 
being far removed, giving evidences of long leaps. We have frequently 
observed where it had made long galleries in the deep snow for twenty 
or thirty yards, and thus in going from one burrow to another, instead of 
travelling over the surface, it had constructed for itself a kind of tunnel 

The Ermine is easily taken in any kind of trap. We have on seve- 
ral occasions, when observing one peeping at us from its secure hole in 
the wall, kept it gazing until a servant brought a box trap baited 
with a bird or piece of meat, which was placed within a t\\v feet of its 
retreat. The Ermine, after eyeing the trap for a lew moments, gradually 
approached it, then after two or three hasty springs backwards returned 
Stealthily into the trap, seized the bait, and was caught. We lind in our 
note-book the following memorandum: "On the 19th June, 1846, we baited 
a large wire trap with maize : on visiting the trap on the following day 
we found it had caught seven young rats and a Weasel ; the throats of 
the former had all been cut by the Weasel, and their blood sucked; but 
what appeared strange to as, the Weasel itself was also dead. The rats 
had been attracted by the bait : the Weasel went into the trap and killed 
them : and whether it met its death by excessive gluttony, or from a wound 
inflicted by its host of enemies, we are unable to determine. 

This species does not appear to be very abundant any where. We have 
seldom found more than two or three on any farm in the IVorthern or 
Eastern States. We have ascertained that the immense number of tracks 
often seen in the snow in particular localities were made by asingle ani- 


mal, as by capturing one, no signs of other individuals were afterwards 
seen. We have observed it most abundant in stony regions : in Dutchess 
and Ontario counties in New- York, on the hills of Connecticut and Ver- 
mont, and at the foot of the Alleghanies in Pennsylvania and Virginia. It 
is solitary in its habits, as we have seldom seen a pair together except 
in the rutting season. A family of young, however, are apt to remain in 
the same locality till autumn. In winter they separate, and we are in- 
clined to think that they do not hunt in couples or in packs like the wolf, 
but that, like the bat and the mink, each individual pursues its prey with- 
out copartnership, and hunts for its own benefit. 

The only note we have ever heard uttered by the Ermine is a shrill 
querulous cry : this was heard only when it was suddenly alarmed, or 
received a hurt, when its sharp scream was always attended with an 
emission of the offensive odour with which nature has furnished it as 
a means of defence. Although nocturnal in its habits, the Ermine is fre- 
quently met with at all hours of the day, and we have seen it in pur- 
suit of the common rabbit under a bright shining sun at noon-day. 

We doubt whether the Ermine ever digs its own burrows, and although 
when fastened to a chain in a state of confinement we observed it dig- 
ging shallow holes in the ground, its attempts at burrowing were as 
awkward as those of the rat ; the nests we have seen were placed un- 
der roots of trees, in stone heaps, or in the burrows of the ground squir- 
rel, from which the original occupants had been expelled. The rut- 
ting season is in winter, from the middle of February to the beginning 
of March. The young, from four to seven, are born in May, in the 
latitude of New-York. We were informed by a close observer, that in 
the upper country of Carolina, the young had been seen as early as 
the 25th of March. The colour of the young when a week old, is 
pale yellow on the upper surface. 

The Ermine avoids water, and if forcibly thrown into it, swims awk- 
wardly like a cat. It does not, like the fisher and pine marten, pursue 
its prey on trees, and seems never to ascend them from choice ; but from 
dire necessity, when closely pursued by its implacable enemy, the dog. 
One of the most singular characteristics of this species, viz., its change 
of colour from brown in summer to pure white in winter, and from 
white in spring to its summer colour, remains to be considered. It is 
well known that about the middle of October the Ermine gradually 
loses its brown summer-coat and assumes its white winter-pelage, which 
about the middle of March is replaced by the usual summer colour- 
As far as our observations have enabled us to form an opinion on 
(his subject, we have arrived at the conclusion, that the animal sheds 



its coat twice a year, i. e., at the periods when these semi-annual changes 
take place. In autumn, the summer hair gradually and almost imper- 
ceptibly drops out, and is succeeded by a fresh coat of hair, which in the 
course of two or three weeks becomes pure white ; while in the spring 
the animal undergoes its change from white to brown in consequence 
of shedding its winter coat, the new hairs then coming out brown. We 
have in our possession a specimen captured in November, in which the 
change of colour has considerably advanced, but is not completed. The 
whole of the under surface, the sides, neck and body to within half an inch 
of the back, together with the legs, are white, as well as the edges of 
the ears. On the upper surface, the nose, forehead, neck, and an ir- 
regular line on the back, together with a spot on the outer surface of 
the fore-leg, are brown, showing that these parts change, colour last. 

In reference to the change of pelage and colour as exhibited in spring, 
we add some notes made by the senior author of this work, in March, 
1842, on a specimen sent to him alive by Ogdbn Hammond, Esq. 

The Weasel this evening, the 6th of March, began to show a change of 
colour | we were surprised to see that all around its nose, the white hair 
of its winter dress had changed suddenly to a silky black hue, and 
this extended to nearly between the ears. Here and there also were 
seen small spots of black about its rump, becoming more apparent toward 
the shoulders, and forming as it were a ridge along the back of the animal. 

March loth. By noon the change was wonderfully manifested. The 
whole upper surface of the head had become black to the eye, as 
well as the ridge of the back, the latter part having become quite 
clouded, and showing an indescribable motley mixture of closely-blended 
white, black, and blackish brown. 

I8th. This day the change of colour reached the root of the tail. 
where it formed a ring of about one inch, of the same reddish black colour. 
All other parts remained while, slightly tinged witli pale lemon colour. It 
led. as we perceived, more voraciously than ever since we have had it 
in our possession. No less than three or four mice were devoured to-day, 
and what is very strange, it left no remains of either hair, skull, feet, or 
an] other part of these animals: and on this day, the 18th of March, 
ii ate a very large piece of fresh beef, weighing nearly half a pound. 

19th, Last night our Weasel made great progress, for this morning 
we found the coloured ridge on the hack broader and less mottled. The 
posterior coloured part of the head had joined the ridge of the back. 
The posterior part of the hind loirs had become brown, and we ob- 
served a small spot the size of a sixpence on each upper part of the 
thighs. At this juncture we think the animal is beautiful. 



22d. This morning we found all the while hair on the outward ridge 
of the back had fallen, and portions of the thighs and shoulders had 
become broader ; the coloured parts were of a rich brown to the very 
nose, and there existed indications of small dark spots coming from 
the sides of the belly, somewhat like so many beads strung on a thread, 
separated from the lower edge of the back ridge by a line of white 
of about half an inch. The weasel continues as lively as ever. 
When asleep, it curls its body around, and the tail encircles the whole 
animal, the end covering the nose. The eyes appear to be kept care- 
fully uncovered. The general tints of the coloured parts of this Wea- 
sel were very much darker than in any other specimen which we have 
in our collection. When angry, it emitted a sharp shrill cry, and snapped 
with all its might at the objects presented to it. It was very cleanly 
in its habits, never rendering its sleeping apartment disagreeable. 

28th. Our Weasel got out of its cage by pushing the wires apart, 
passing through an aperture not exceeding five-eighths of an inch, as we 
suppose by putting its head diagonally through the bars. The door and 
windows of our room were closed, however, and, when we entered, our 
little fellow looked at us as if well acquainted, but soon ran behind a 
box. It devoured last night at least half a pound of beef, kept in the 
room for its day's ration. We placed the cage, with the door open, on 
the floor, and by walking round the box that concealed it, the animal 
was induced to run towards the cage, and was again secured in it. 

We have often observed this species whilst retreating ; if near its 
place of concealment, it does so backwards, and we observed the same 
movement when it passed from one section of its cage to the other, drag- 
ging its food and concealing it among the straw. While we were sitting 
at a distance from its retreat, it proceeded by leaps very swiftly to with- 
in two or three feet of us, when it suddenly threw itself round and re- 
treated backward, as mentioned before. 

The purplish brown was now augmented on the thighs and shoulders to the 
knee joints, no white hairs remaining mixed with those that were coloured. 
Beneath the jaws, separate small brown spots appeared at equal distances, 
leaving an intermediate space of white, as was the case along the flanks. 
The root of the tail had acquired no farther change. Since last week our 
animal has diffused a very strong disagreeable odour, musky and fetid, 
which may be attributable to this being its breeding season ; we observed 
that the smell was more disagreeable in the mornings and evenings, than 
at mid-day. 

April. — On paying our accustomed visit to our Weasel this evening, 
we found it dead, which put a stop to any further observation of its habits. 
Its measurements are as follows: 



From point of nose to end of tail, - - - - 10J 

Tail (vertebra), ....... 5 

Tail to end of hair, ------- 6 

Height of ear, f 

Breadth of ear, f 

Fore claws and hind claws stretching out to the black hair 

of the tail, 1<H 


If, as we feel confident after having examined more than a hundred 
specimens from both continents, the American Ermine is identical with 
that of Europe, it will be found to have the widest range of any quadruped 
at present known. It exists in the colder portions of Asia, and in the 
temperate, as well as in all the Northern States of Europe. We have seen 
specimens from England and Scotland, from France, Germany, Switzer- 
land, Denmark, Sweden, and Russia. 

In America, its geographical range is also very extensive. Dr. Deka? 
(see Fauna, N. Y., p. 37) supposes it to be a northern animal, found as 
far south as Pennsylvania. We agree with him in his supposition that it 
is a northern animal, as it is only found in the Southern States where the 
country is mountainous or considerably elevated. It exists in the polar re- 
sions of America as far north as Franklin, Parry, Richardson, Lyon ami 
other explorers were able to penetrate. It is found in Nova Scotia ami 
Canada, and in all the Eastern and Northern States. We observed it 
along; the whole chain of mountains in Virginia and North Carolina. We 
obtained a specimen from Abbeville in South Carolina, from our friend 
Dr. Barrett, a close observer and a good naturalist ; and another from 
Mr. Fisher, from Orangeburg District. We have ascertained that it 
< \ists in the mountains of Georgia, where we are penning this article. 
We saw a specimen procured by Townsend in Oregon, and have heard of 
its existence in North California. It is, however, not found in the maritime 
dist licts of any of the Southern States, and in Carolina and Georgia dors 
not approach within fifty miles of the seaboard ; and even when it exists 
on the most elevated portions of country, it is, like the ruffed grouse in 
similar localities, a rare species. 


Writers on Natural History, up to the time of Harlan, Godman and 
Rich IRDSOH, without having instituted very close comparisons, considered 
vol. 11. — ft. 


the species existing in Asia, Europe and America, to be identical. At 
a somewhat later period, however, naturalists, discovering on patient and 
close investigation that nearly all our species of quadrupeds as well as 
birds differed from the closely allied species on the eastern continent, 
began to doubt the identity of the Ermine existing in Europe and Ameri- 
ca. We have been unable to ascertain whether these doubts origi- 
nated from any difference in specimens from these countries, or from a 
belief that so small an animal could scarcely be found on both con- 
tinents, and thus prove an exception to a general rule. We admit that 
were an animal restricted to the temperate climates on either continent, 
and not found in the polar regions, there would be a strong presump- 
tive argument against the identity of closely allied species existing in 
Europe and America. The Ermine of the eastern continent is known 
to exist where the two continents nearly approach each other, perhaps 
occasionally have been united by a solid bridge of ice, and probably 
may be so again during some of the coldest seasons of the polar winters 
and being capable of travelling on the snow, and resisting the severest 
cold, this animal is fully able to cross from one continent to the 
other, like the white bear, or Arctic fox, species which are admitted as 
identical on both continents. Our species, moreover, is known to exist 
equally far north, and has been traced nearer to the poles than even the 

We observed, in the Museum of the Zoological Society, that the speci- 
men brought by Richardson was regarded as a new species by C. L 
Bonaparte, Esq., (now Prince of Musignano.) 

In the recent work of Dr. Dekay, we perceive it has been described 
as a new species, under the name of Putorius Noveboracensis. In a spirit 
of great fairness and candour, however, he states : " I have never seen 
the true Ermine in its summer dress, and only know it from Pennant's 
description : ears edged with white ; head, back, sides and legs, pale taw- 
ny brown ; under side of the body white ; lower part of the tail brown, end 
black." The only point of difference, then, is in the ears edged with 
white. Pennant's specimen unquestionably was obtained at the period 
of time when the animal had only partially changed colour, as in all 
these cases the specimens before us, both from Europe and America, have 
their ears edged with white. We have compared a great number of spe- 
cimens from both continents, and have several of each lying before us ; the 
edges of the ears in summer colour are all brown, and neither in size, den • 
tition, nor colour, can we observe a shade of difference. 


Plate I.V! 


1 ■ 



Orange - bellied Squirrel. — Golden - bellied Squirrel. 

PLATE LVIII.— Male and Female 

S. Magnitudine, S. migratoriam supersens, S. Carolinensi cedens ; 
supra cinereus flavido-undutus, subtus saturate aureus, cauda corpore 


Size intermediate between (he Northern gray and the little Carolina 
squirrel ; tail longer than (he body ; colour, above, gray, with a wash of yel- 
low : beneath, deep gold* n yellow. 


Golden-bellied Squirrel, Soiurus Sub-auratus. — Bachuian, Mon. Genus Sciurus, 
p. 12. 


In the two specimens now before us, which are very similar in size and 
markings, there is no appearance of the small anterior upper molar found in 
several other species of this genus. We conclude, therefore, that it either 
does not exist at all, or drops out at a very early period ; and accordingly 
set down this species as having only twenty teeth, viz. : 

2 0—0 4—4 

Incisive -; Canine-—; Molar — = 20. 

2 o—o ' 4—4 

The upper incisors are of moderate size; their colour is deep orange 
lirown ; the lower incisors are a little paler; head, of medium size : ears 
short and pointed, clothed with hair on both surfaces. The body seems 
more formed for sprightliness and agility than that of the small Caro- 
lina Squirrel, and in this respect comes nearest to the northern gray squir- 
rel. The tail is long, and nearly as broad as that of the last named 



The whole upper surface gray, with a distinct yellow wash. The 
hairs which give this outward appearance are grayish slate colour at 
their base, then broadly annulated with yellowish, then black, and near 
the tips annulated with yellowish-white ; sides of the face and neck, 
the whole of the inner side of the limbs, feet, and the under parts, deep 
golden yellow ; on the cheeks and sides of the neck, however, the hairs 
are obscurely annulated with black and whitish ; the ears are well clothed 
on both surfaces with tolerably long hair of the same deep golden hue 
as the sides of the face ; hairs of the feet mostly blackish at the root, 
some obscurely tipped with black ; hairs of the tail, black at the root, and 
the remaining portion bright rusty yellow ; each hair annulated with 
black three times ; the under surface of the tail is chiefly bright rusty yel- 
low ; whiskers, longer than the head, black. 


Length of head and body, 

" of tail, (vertebrae,) - - - - 

" including fur, 

" of palm to end of middle fore-claw, - 

" of heel to point of middle nail, - 

" of fur on the back, 

Height of ear posteriorly, - 

Breadth of tail with hair extended, - 

Weight H lbs. 


During the winter season the city of New-Orleans is thronged by na 
tives of almost every land, and the Levee (which is an embankment ex- 
tending along the margin of the river) presents a scene so unlike any- 
thing American, that as we walk along its smooth surface we may ima- 
gine ourselves in some twenty different countries, as our eyes fall upon 
many a strange costume, whose wearer has come from afar, and is, like 
ourselves, perchance, intent on seeing the curiosities of this Salmagundi 
city. Here a Spanish gentleman from Cuba, or a Mexican, next a pirate 
or thief, perhaps, from the same countries ; all Europe is here represented, 
and the languages of many parts of the world can be heard whilst walk- 
ing even half a mile ; the descendants of Africa are here metamorphosed 

















into French folks, and the gay bandanna that turbans the heads of the co- 
loured women, is always adjusted with good taste, and is their favourite 

But the most interesting figures are the few straggling Choctaw and 
Chickasaw Indians, who bring a variety of game to the markets, and in 
their blankets, red flannel leggings, moccasins and bead finery, form a 
sort of dirty picturesque feature in the motley scene, and generally attract 
the artist's eye : many of these Indians have well formed legs and bodies, 
and their half-covered shoulders display a strength and symmetry indica- 
ting almost, a perfect development of the manly form — their sinews 
and muscles being as large as is compatible with activity and grace. 
Whilst conversing with one of these remnants of a once numerous race, 
it was our good fortune to see for the first time the singular and beau- 
tiful little Orange-bellied Squirrel which the Indian hunter had brought 
with him along with other animals for sale, having procured it in the 
recesses of the forest on the borders of an extensive swamp. 

Karely indeed does the Orange-bellied Squirrel leave its solitary haunts 
and quit the cypress or sweet-gum shades, except to feed upon pecan- 
nuts, berries, persimmons, or other delicacies growing in the uplands ; .and 
it does not. hoard up the small acorn from the swamp-oak until late in 
the autumn, knowing that the mild winters of Louisiana are seldom 
cold enough to prevent it from catching an unlucky beetle from time 
to time during the middle of the day. or interfere with searches for 
food among the dry leaves and decaying vegetable substances in the 
woods. Besides, early in the year the red-maple buds will afford a treat 
to which this little squirrel turns with as much eagerness as the horse 
that has been kept all winter upon hay and corn, dashes into a line field 
of grass in the month of May. 

The hole inhabited by the present species is generally in some tall 
tree growing in the swamp, and perhaps sixty or one hundred yards 
from the dry land, and the animal passes to it from tree to tree, or 
along some fallen monarch of the woods, over the shallow water, 
keeping his large eye bent upon the surrounding lands in fear of some 
enemy ; and. in faith, he runs no little risk, for should the red-shoul- 
dered hawk, or the sharprd-shinned, dart upon him, he is an easy prey; 
or, on a warm day, a snake, called the " water moccasin,'" curled up in 
his way. might swallow him, "tail and all." But good fun it must be 
to see the sportsman following in pursuit, splashing and floundering 
through the water, sometimes half-leg deep, and at others only up to 
the ankles, but stumbling occasionally, and making the "water fly;" 


so that when he has a chance to pull trigger, he is certain to snap both 
ban-els ! 

Of the breeding of this species we know nothing, nor can we say more 
of its habits, which are yet to be farther investigated. 


We have not heard of the occurrence of this species farther north 
than Louisiana, and think it probable its range will be found to ex- 
tend west and south of that state into Texas, and perhaps Mexico. 






Bridled Weasel. 
PLATE LX.— Males. 

P. magnitudine P. erminese, supra fulvus, infra ex flavicante albus ; 
naso, dorso, majore capitis parte, auribusque nigris ; macula inter aures 
et vitta frontali albis. 


Size of the ermine ; nose, back part of the head, and ears, black ; a white 
spot between the ears, and a band over the forehead, tr/iitr : yrllouish-bromn 
above, yellowish-whke beneath. 


Mustela Frenata, Lichtenstein. Darstellung neuor oder wenig bekanntcr Ssiugp- 
thiere XLII., Tafel. Berlin, 1827-1834. 


This species in lbrm bears a considerable resemblance to the Ermine 
of the more northern parts of America. It is however rather stouter, the 
neck shorter, the ears narrower and higher, and the tail a little longer. 
In its dentition it is also similar to the common weasel, being a true pu- 
torius, with thirty-four teeth, having only four molars on each side of 
the upper jaw, and five beneath, whilst the genus Mustela is characterized 
by having thirty-eight teeth, five on each side of the upper jaw, and six 
beneath. The ears and tail are clothed with hair, the fur is a little shorter 
and slightly coarser than that of the Ermine. 


Moustaches, ears on both surfaces, nose, and around the eyes, black ; 
a broad band of white rises in the forehead above the nose, extending 
around the head between the eyes and cars, reaching the neck and throat 
including the chin, the colours of which as well as the inner surfaces 
of the fore-lega arc white ; there is also a white spot on the back of the 
head between the cars The colour i 1 - dark brownish black from the 


neck, reaching the white band on the forehead, where the lines of sepa- 
ration are distinctly but irregularly preserved. On the under surface from 
the chest to the tail including the inner surface of the thighs, a light 
fawn colour ; tail, the colour of the back till within an inch of the 
tip, where it gradually darkens into black. The black at the end of 
the tail is not only shorter but less distinct than the corresponding parts 
on the ermine in summer colour. 

The colour of the back and outer surfaces of the legs is light yel- 
lowish brown, gradually darkening on the neck till it reaches and blends 
with the dark brown colours on the hind head. 



From point of nose to root of tail, - - - - 11 

Tail (vertebras), 5 

Do. to end of hair, ------- 6 

Height of ear, 0£ 

Breadth of skull, 1| 

From heel to end of longest nail, - - - - If 


We have personally no knowledge of the habits of this rare and com- 
paratively new species. The specimen from which Dr. Lichtenstein 
made his description and figure, was obtained by F. Deppe, Esq., in the 
vicinity of the city of Mexico, where the animal was indiscriminately 
called Comadreja, Oronzito and Onzito. He was unable to collect any 
i i formation in regard to its habits. The specimen from which our de- 
scription and figure were made, was captured by Mr. John K. Town- 
• end. We conversed with an American officer, who informed us that 
lie had occasionally seen it near Monterey in Mexico, that it there bore 
no better character than its congener the Ermine in the more northern parts 
of America ; that it was destructive to poultry and eggs, and very com- 
monly took up its residence in the outhouses on plantations, and under 
such circumstances was regarded as a great nuisance. Fortunately for 
them, the species was considered as quite rare in the northern parts 
of Mexico, as the Mexican who pointed out this animal to our officer 
stated, this was the first Comadreja he had seen in five years. 

geographical distribution. 

As we have not heard of the existence of our Ermine in Mexico, 
wc are inclined to the belief that this species takes the place of the 


Ermine in the South, and that with similar roving and predacious 
habits it has a more extended geographical range than is at present 
known. The field of natural history in Texas, California, and Mexico, 
Ikis been as yel very imperfectly explored. We have only heard of the 
Bridled Weasel as being found in four widely separated localities — in 
Texas between the Colorado and Rio Grande, in Mexico in the vicini- 
t\ of the capita], and in the northern parts near Monterey, and in the 
valleys of the mountains south-west of that city. 


In comparing ibis singularly marked species with others from the 
Eastern and Western hemispheres, we have been struck with the uni- 
formity existing on both continents in the nearly equal distribution of 
predacious animals, and in 1 heir close resemblance to each other, in 
size, form and habits. The badger in Europe (Meles vulgaris) is in 
America replaced by .1/. Labradoriu. The European Otter (Lutra vul- 
garis) has its representative in America in our Canada otter (Lutra 
Canadensis). The European mink (P lutreola) is replaced by our near- 
ly similar (P. vison). The European ferret (P.furo) by our western 
black-footed ferret (P. nigripes). The ermine and common weasel of 
the north of Europe (P. erminea) and (P. vulgaris) by our ermine and 
brown weasel (P. erminea) and (P. fused) in the Northern and Middle 
States of America, and the Java ferret (P. nudipes) has its represent- 
ative near the tropics m America in our (P. frenata), nearly of the 
same size, and with similar habits. There is evidently great wisdom 
1:1 this arrangement of Providence. Countries under similar latitudes 
producing large numbers of the smaller rodentia, require a certain num- 
ber di' carnivorous animals to prevent their too rapid multiplication, which 
in the absence of such a provision of nature would be destructive of the 
interests of the husbandman. 

vol. 11. — 1C 




Incisive - ; Canine — — ; Molar — = 40. 

6 1—1 6—6 

Muzzle, pointed and projecting beyond the lower jaw ; ears, short and 
oval ; tail, bushy, and long. Feet, five toed, with strong nails not retrac- 
tile ; soles of feet, (posterior,) naked ; the species rest on the heel, but 
walk on the toes. Mammse, six ventral ; there is a gland on each side of 
the anus which secretes a slightly offensive fluid. 

The generic name is derived from the Greek t/>», before, and xvm, a 


Two species only have been noticed : one in the northern, and the other 
in the southern parts of North America. 



PLATE LXI — Male and Young. 

P. corpore supra canescente plus minus in nigrum vergente, infra, au- 
riculis pedibusque albicantibus ; facie albida, fascia sub oculari obliqua 
nigra, cauda rufescente annulis 4-5 nigris. 


Body above, grayish mixed with black ; ears, and beneath, whitish ; a 
black patch across the eye. Tail with 4 or 5 annulations of black and gray. 


Arecon, Smith's Voyages, xiii., p. 31. 
Ursus Lotor, Linn., 12th ed., p. 70. 

Erxleben, Syst, p. 165-4. 

Schreber Saugth., p. 521, 5 t. 148. 
Le Raton, Buffon, vol. viii., p. p. 337, t. xliii. 

. 13 

Plan l\l 

rrc< ••(•// 


Raccoon Bear, Pennant's Arct. Zool., vol. i., p. 69. 
Procton Lotor, Cut., Regne Animal, vol. i., p. 143. 

" " Sabine, Journal, p. 649. 

" Harlan, p. 53. 

" " Godman, vol. i., p. 53. 

" " Dekay, New-York Fauna, p. 26. 

Procton Nivea, Gray, Magazine of Nat. Hist., vol. i., 1837, p. 580. 


The body is rather stout, the legs of moderate length, and the appear- 
ance of the animal would indicate that although he is not intended for 
great speed, he is still by his compact and well organized structure, his 
strong and muscular limbs and short and stout claws, capable of a tolera- 
bly rapid race, and is able to climb, although not with the agility of the 
squirrel, still with greater alacrity than his near relative the bear. 

Head, rather round ; nose, tapering, sharp, and the snout moveable ; 
point of the nose, naked ; eyes, round, and of moderate size ; moustaches, 
few, very rigid, resembling bristles, extending to the chin ; ears, low, erect, 
elliptical, with their tips much rounded, clothed with hair on both sides ; 
on the inner surface the hairs are longer and less dense ; tail, of moderate 
length and bushy. In its feet the Raccoon is partially plantigrade, hence 
it was classed by Linnaeus among the bears, under the genus Ursus ; soles 
of feet, naked. When it sits, it often brings the whole hind sole to the 
ground, resting in the manner of the bear. The canine teeth are large 
and extend beyond the lips. The nails are strong, hooked and sharp, not 
covered with hair. The body is densely clothed with two kinds of hair ; 
the outer and longer, long and coarse ; the inner, softer and more like 


Point of nose, and soles of feet, black ; nails, dark brown ; moustaches, 
nearly all white ; ears, lips, above the snout and chin, dingy white ; above 
the eyes, and around the forehead, light gray. A dark brown patch ex- 
tends from each side of the neck and passes the eyes, over the nose, 
nearly reaching the snout, and gradually fading on the forehead into the 
colours of the back ; eyes, black ; the longer hairs on the back are dark 
brown at the roots, then yellowish-white for half their length, and are 
broadly tipped with black ; the softer fur beneath, pale brown throughout 
the whole body ; on the sides and belly, the longer hairs are dingy white 
from the roots ; the tail has about six distinct black rings, and is tipped 
with black ; these rings alternate with five light yellowish-brown an- 
n ulations. 




Old male, received from Dr. John Wright. 

Nose to anterior canthus. 

" " corner of mouth, 

" " root of ear, - 

" " " of tail, - 
Tail, (vertebrae), . - - - 

" to end of hair, - 
Length of head, - 

Breadth of head, - 

Weight, 22 lbs. 







The Raccoon is a cunning animal, is easily tamed, and makes a plea- 
sant monkey-like pet. It is quite dexterous in the use of its fore-feet, and 
will amble after its master in the manner of a bear, and even follow him 
into the streets. It is fond of eggs, and devours them raw or cooked with 
avidity, but prefers them raw of course, and if it finds a nest will feast on 
them morning, noon and night without being satiated. It will adroitly 
pick its keeper's pockets of anything it likes to eat, and is always on the 
watch for dainties. The habits of the muscles (unios) that inhabit our 
fresh water rivers are better known to the Raccoon than to most conchol- 
ogists, and their flavour is as highly relished by this animal as is that of 
the best bowl of clam soup by the epicure in that condiment. 

Being an expert climber, the Raccoon ascends trees with facility and 
frequently invades the nest of the woodpecker, although it may be secure 
against ordinary thieves, by means of his fore-feet getting hold of the 
eggs or the young birds. He watches too the soft-shelled turtle when she 
is about to deposit her eggs, for which purpose she leaves the water and 
crawling on to the white sand-bar, digs a hole and places them under- 
neath the heated surface. Quickly does the rogue dig up the elastic ova, 
although ever so carefully covered, and appropriate them to his own use, 
notwithstanding the efforts of the luckless turtle to conceal them. 

Sometimes, by the margin of a pond, shrouded, or crouched among tall 
reeds and grasses, Grimalkin-like, the Raccoon lies still as death, waiting 
with patience for some ill-fated duck that may come within his reach. 
No negro on a plantation knows with more accuracy when the corn 
(maize) is juicy and ready for the connoisseur in roasting ears, and he 
does not require the aid of fire to improve its flavour, but attacks it mora 


voraciously than the squirrel or the blackbird, and is the last to quit the 

The favourite resorts of the Raccoon are retired swampy lands well 
covered with lofty trees, and through which are small water-courses. In 
such places ils tracks may bo seen following the margins of the bayous 
and creeks, which it occasionally crosses in search of frogs and muscles 
which are found on their banks. It also follows the margins of rivers for 
the same purpose, and is dexterous in getting at the shell-fish, notwith- 
standing the hardness of the siliceous covering with which nature has 
provided them, fn dry seasons, the receding waters sometimes Leave the 
muscles exposed to the heat of the sun, which destroys their life and 
causes their shells to open, leaving them accessible to the first animal or 
bird that approaches. 

In the dreary months of winter should you be encamped in any of the Western forests, obliged by the pitiless storm to remain for some 
days, as we have been, you will not be unthankful if you have a fat 
Raccoon suspended on a tree above your camp, for when kept awhile, 
the llesh of this species is both tender and well-flavoured. 

The Raccoon when full grown and in good condition we consider quite 
a handsome animal. We have often watched him with interest, cau- 
tiously moving from one trunk to another to escape his view. His bright 
eve, however, almost invariably detected us ere we could take aim at him, 
and he adroitly lied into a hollow tree and escaped from us. 

We once met with one of these animals whilst we were travelling on 
horseback from Henderson to Yineetmes, on the edge of a large prairie in 
.1 copse, and on approaching it ran up a small sapling from which we 
shook it off with ease ; but as soon as u reached the ground it opened its 
mouth and made directly towards us. and looked so fierce, that drawing 
a pistol from our holsters, we shot it dead when it was only a lew feel 
from us. 

fhe young are at their birth quite small; (about the size of a hall- 
grown rat :) some that we saw in Texas were not more than two days 
old and were kept in a barrel. They uttered a plaintive cry not unlike 
the wail of an infant. 

flu Raccoon usually produces from four to six young at a time, which 
are generally brought forth early in May, although the period of their 
littering varies in different latitudes. 

When the Indian corn is ripening, the Raccoons invade the fields to 
least on the rich milky grain, as we have just stated, and as the stalks are 
too weak to hear the weight of these marauders, they generally break 
them down with their fore-paws, tear off the husks from the ears, and 


then munch them at their leisure. During this inviting season, the 
Raccoon is not the only trespasser on the corn fields, but various animals 
are attracted thither to receive their portion, and even the merry school- 
boy shares the feast with them, at the risk of paying for his indulgence 
by incurring the necessity of a physician's prescription the next day. The 
havoc committed in the Western States by squirrels and other animals 
is almost incalculable, and no vigilance of the farmer can guard against 
the depredations of these hungry intruders, which extend from farm to 
farm, and even penetrate to those embosomed in the forests, where settle- 
ments are few and far between. 

The Raccoon is not strictly a nocturnal animal ; and although it gene- 
rally visits the corn fields at night, sometimes feeds on the green corn 
during the day ; we have seen it thus employed during the heat of sum- 
mer, and it will occasionally enter a poultry house at mid-day, and 
destroy many of the feathered inhabitants, contenting itself with the head 
and blood of the fowls it kills. 

The nest or lair of the Raccoon is usually made in the hollow of some 
broken branch of a tree. When tamed, these animals are seldom induced 
to lie or sleep on a layer of straw. 

There exists a species of oyster in the Southern States of inferior 
quality which bears the name of Raccoon Oyster : it lies imbedded in 
masses in the shallow waters of the rivers. These oysters are covered by 
high tides, but are exposed at low water. On these the Raccoons are 
fond of feeding, and we have on several occasions seen them on the oyster 
banks. We have however never had an opportunity of ascertaining by 
personal observation the accuracy of a statement which we have fre- 
quently heard made with great confidence, viz., that the Raccoon at low 
tide in endeavouring to extricate these oysters from the shell, is occasion- 
ally caught by the foot in consequence of the closing of the valve of the 
shell fish, when numbers of these being clustered and imbedded together, 
the Raccoon cannot drag them from their bed, and the returning tide 
drowns him. 

The naturalist has many difficulties to encounter when inquiring into 
facts connected with his pursuit : every one acquainted with the habits 
of even our common species must know, that the information gained 
from most of those who reside near their localities, from their want of 
particular observation, is generally very limited, and probably the most 
interesting knowledge gained by such queries, would be the result of a 
comparison of the accounts given at different places. From the Alle- 
ghany mountains, the swamps of Louisiana, and the marshes of Carolina, 


we have received nearly the same history of the cunning manoeuvres 
and sly tricks of 1 lie Raccoon in procuring food. 

We add the following notes on a Raccoon kept for a considerable time 
in a tame State or partially domesticated. 

When it first came into our possession it was about one-third grown. 
By kind treatment it soon became very docile, but from its well known 
mischievous propensities we always kept it. chained. 

It was truly omnivorous : never refusing any thing eatable, vegetable 
or animal, cooked or uncooked, all was devoured with equal avidity. Of 
some articles however it seemed particularly fond: as sugar, honey, chest- 
nuts, fish and poultry. The animal would become almost frantic when 
either of the two first was placed near it. but beyond its reach. No 
means would be left untried to obtain the dainty morsel. It would rush 
forward as far as the chain permitted, and stretch out a fore-paw toward 
the object of its wishes to its utmost extent, which failing to reach it, the 
other was extended ; again disappointed, the hind limbs were tried in suc- 
cession, by which there was a nearer approach to the food, on account 
of the animal being chained by the neck. 

On being offered food when hungry, or roused up suddenly from any 
cause, or when in active play, the eye was of a lustrous green, changing 
apparently the whole countenance. 

It had a strong propensity to roll food and other things under its paws ; 
segars in particular, especially when lighted. We have observed a simi- 
lar propensity in young bears. 

On placing a pail of water within its reach, it ran to it. and alter drink- 
ing would examine the contents to the bottom with the fore-paws, seeming- 
ly expecting to find some fish or frog. If any thing was found it was 
speedily brought, to the surface and scrutinized. We have seen it throw 
chips, bits of china and pebbles, &c, into the pail, and then fish them out 
for amusement, but never saw it put a particle of its food in to soak, ex- 
cept in a few instances when it threw in hard corn, but we do not think 
it was for this purpose. 

After playing for a short, time in the water it would commonly urinate 
in it and then upset the 

We gave it a lish weighing two pounds. The Raccoon turned it in all di- 
rections in search of a convenient point of attack. The mouth, nose, tins, 
vent. Arc, were tried. At length an opening was made at the vent, into which 
a paw was deeply inserted : the intestines were withdrawn and eaten with 
avidity. At the same time an attempt was made to insert the other paw into 
the mouth of the fish to meet its fellow. This disposition to use the paws in 
concert, was shown in almost every action, sometimes in a very ludicrous 


manner. On giving the animal a jug, one pawwould be inserted in the aper- 
ture, and a hundred twists and turns would be made to join its fellow on 
the outside. 

After devouring as much of the fish as it wished, it placed the paws on 
the remainder and lay down to doze, until hunger returned, watching the 
favourite food, and growling at any animal which happened to pass near it. 
By degrees this propensity to defend its food passed off, and it would al- 
low the dog or fox to partake of it freely. We placed a half-grown fox 
within its reach : the Raccoon instantly grasped it with its legs and paws 
and commenced a close examination. It thrust its pointed nose in the ear 
of the fox to the very bottom, smelling and snuffing as if determined to 
find out the nature of the animal. During this time it showed no dispo- 
sition to injure the fox. 

The Raccoon can scent an object for some distance with accuracy. We 
suffered ours to go loose on one occasion, when it made directly for some 
small marmots confined in a cage in another room. 

Our pet Raccoon whose habits we are relating evinced a singular pro- 
pensity to listen to things at a distance, however many persons were around 
him, even though he might be at the moment eating a frog, of which food 
he was very fond. He would apparently hear some distant noise, then 
raise his head and continue listening, seeming every moment more ab- 
sorbed ; at last he would suddenly run and hide himself in his burrow. 
This seems to be connected with some instinct of the animal in his wild 
state, probably whilst sitting on a tree sunning himself, when he is in the 
habit of listening to hear the approach of an enemy, and then hurrying to 
his hole in the tree. 

Enjoying the hospitality of a friend one night at his plantation, the con- 
versation turned on the habits of animals : and in speaking of the Raccoon 
he mentioned that it fed on birds and rabbits generally, but in winter 
robbed the poultry houses. The negroes on his plantation he said kept 
good dogs, and relied on them for hunting the Raccoon. 

Whenever a Raccoon was about to attack the poultry house, the dogs 
scenting him give a shrill cry, which is the signal for his owner to com- 
mence the hunt. He comes out armed with an axe, with a companion or 
two, resolved on a Raccoon hunt. The dog soon gives chase with such 
rapidity, that the Raccoon, hard pressed, takes to a tree. The dog, close 
at his heels, changes his whining cry while running to a shrill short sharp 
bark. If the tree is small or has limbs near the ground so that it can be 
easily ascended, the eager hunters climb up after the " coon." He per- 
ceives his danger, endeavours to avoid his pursuers by ascending to the far- 
thest topmost branch, or the extremity of a limb : but all his efforts are in 
vain, his relentless pursuers shake the limb until he is compelled to let go his 


hold, and he comes toppling heavily to the ground, and is instantly seized 
by the dogs. It frequently happens however that the trees are tall and 
destitute of lower branches so that they cannot be climbed without the risk 
of life or limb. The negroes survey for a few moments in the bright moon- 
light the tall and formidable tree that shelters the coon, grumble a little 
at the beast for not having saved them trouble by mounting an easier tree, 
and then the ringing of their axes resounds through the still woods, 
awakening echoes of the solitude previously disturbed only by the hooting 
of the owl, or the impatient barking of the dogs. In half an hour the. tree, 
is brought to the ground and with it the Raccoon, stunned by the fall : his 
foes give him no time to define his position, and after a short and bloody 
contest with the dogs, he is despatched, and the sable hunters remunerated, 
— tor his skin they will sell to the hatters in the nearest town, and his flesh 
i In y will hang up in a tree to freeze and furnish them with many a savoury 

The greatest number of Raccoons, however, are killed by log-traps set 
with a litrnre of 4 trigger, and baited with a bird or squirrel, an ear of 
corn, or a fish : either the appetite or curiosity of these animals will entice 
them into a trap or entangle them in a snare. 

Another mode of destroying this species is by fire-hunting, which requires 
good shooting, as the animal only shows one eye from behind the branch of 
a tree, which reflecting the light of the fire-hunter's torch, shines like a ball 
of phosphorus, and is generally knocked out at twenty-five or thirty yards 
by a good marksman. 

The Raccoon, like the bear, hibernates for several months during winter in 
the latitude of New- York, and only occasionally and in a warm day leaves 
its re1 real, which is found in the hollow of some large tree. We once how- 
ever tracked in deep snow the footsteps of a pair of this species in the 
northern parts of New- York, and obtained them by having the tree in which 
they lay concealed cut down. They had made a circle in company of 
about a mile, and then returned to their winter domicil. 

The specimen from which the large, figure on our plate was taken 
was a remarkably line male, and was sent to us alive by our friend, the 
late Dr. John Wright of Troy, New- York. 


The Raccoon has a very extensive geographical range. Captain Cook saw 
vkins nt \ootka Sound which were supposed to be those of the Raccoon. 
Dixon and Pari.tock obtained Raccoon skins from the natives of Cook'-- 
River in latitude 00°. It is supposed by Richardson that this animal extends 


farther north on the shores of the Pacific, than it does on the eastern side 
of the Rocky Mountains. He farther states, that the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany procured about one hundred skins from the southern parts of the 
fur districts as far north as Red River, latitude 50°. We have not been 
able to trace it on the Atlantic coast farther north than Newfoundland. It is 
found in the Eastern, Northern and Middle States, and seems to become more 
abundant as we proceed southwardly. In some of the older States its num- 
bers have greatly diminished, in consequence of the clearing of the forests, 
and the incessant wars waged against it by the hunters. In South Carolina, 
Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, it is still found in great num- 
bers, is regarded as a nuisance to the corn fields, and is at particular sea- 
sons hunted at night by sportsmen and negroes. We have been informed 
by our friend Daniel Morrison, Esq., of Madison Springs in Georgia, that 
in his frequent visits to Arkansas between the Washita and Red Rivers, 
the Raccoons are very plentiful and are frequently seen travelling about in 
open day, and that many corn fields are nearly destroyed by the Raccoon 
and the bear. 

It was seen by Lewis and Clark at the mouth of the Columbia river. 
We possess several specimens obtained in Texas, and were informed by a 
friend, that although he had not seen it in California, he had heard of its 
existence in the northern parts of that State. 


As might be expected, an occasional variety is found in this species. 

We possess a specimen nearly black ; another yellowish white, with the 
annulations in the tail faint and indistinct. A nest of young was found 
in Christ Church parish in South Carolina, two of which were of the 
usual colour, the other two were white ; one of them was sent to us ; 
it was an albino, with red eyes, and all the hairs were perfectly white 
with the exception of faint traces of rings on the tail. We have no doubt 
that a similar variety was described by Gray, under the name of Procyon 

We have accordingly added his name as a synonyme. Our friend Dr. 
Samuel George Morton of Philadelphia kept one for some time alive 
which was of a yellowish cream colour, and was also an albino. 




GENUS ELAPHUS. — Griffith 


Incisive - ; Canine — ; Molar — = 84. 
8 o—o 8-fl 

Horns, (existing only in the male,) round ; very large ; antlers termi- 
nating in a fork or in snags from a common centre, suborbital sinus ; 
canine teeth in the male, in the upper jaw ; a muzzle. 

The generic name is derived from the Greek EA*<J><s, a Stag, or Elk ; the 
name was applied by Pliny, Linnaeus, and other naturalists, to designate 
a particular species existing in Europe, Cervus Elaphus. 

Three well-determined species may be arranged under this genus; 
one existing in Europe, one in Walhihii, (the Nepaul Stag,) and one in 


American Elk. — Wapite Deer. 

PLATE LXII.— Male and Female. 

E. Cervus Virginianus robustior cornibus amplissimis ramosis tere- 
tibus, frontal ibus amplis ; cauda brevissima. Color rufescens, hieme fus- 
cescens, uropygio flavicante stria nigra circumscripto. 


Larger than the Virginian deer. Horns, large, not palmated, with brow 
antlers : a naked space round the lachrymal opening. Tail, short. Colour, 
yellowish-brown above, a black mark extending from the angle of the mouth 
along the sides of the lower jaw. A broad pale yellowish spot on tin- buttocks. 

84 ELK - 


Stag, Pennant, Arctic Zool., vol. i., p. 27. 
Wewaskiss, Hearne, Journal, p. 3G0. 
Red Deer, Umfreville. 
Do. do. Ray, Synops. Quad., p. 84. 

C. Strongyloceros, Schreber, Siiugetbiere, vol. ii., p. 1074, pi. 24*7, F. q. G. 
Alces Americanus, Jefferson's Notes on Virginia, p. 77. 
The Elk, Lewis and Clark, vol. ii., p. 167. 
C. Waptite, Barton, Med. and Phys. Journal, vol. i., p. 36. 
Elk, Smith, Med. Reports, vol. ii., p. 157, fig. Male, Female, and Young. 
Cervus (Elaphus) Canadensis, (The Wapite,) Synopsis of the Species of Mam- 
malia. Griffith's Cuvier, p. 776. 
C. Canadensis, Harlan, p. 236. 
Do. do. Godman, vol. ii., p. 294, fig. Male. 

Cervus Strongyloceros, Richardson, (The Wapite.) p. 251. 
Elaphus Canadensis, Dekay, New-York Fauna, p. 118, plate 28, fig. 2. 


The Elk is of an elegant, stately and majestic form, and the whole 
animal is in admirable proportion. It bears so strong a resemblance to 
the red deer of Europe, that it was for a long time regarded as a mere 
variety of the same species. It is, however, much larger in size, and on 
closer examination diners from it in many particulars. 

Head, of moderate size ; muzzle, broad and long, rather small, not very 
prominent ; ears, large ; legs, rather stout, finely proportioned ; hoofs, 
rather small. 

From between the horns to the end of the frontal bone, beyond the nasal 
opening sixteen inches, length of horns following the curvature of the main 
branch four feet ; with all the roots three and a quarter inches, by two 
and a quarter thick. There are six points on each horn, irregularly dis- 
posed, varying in length from nine to sixteen inches, excepting one which 
is two and a half inches only in length. At their pointsthe horns curve 
backward and upward, and are about three feet five inches apart, at about 
half the distance from their roots to the extreme tip of the longest point or 
main branch. The horns at the insertion are three and three : quarter inches 
apart from the ring or crown at their roots. 

In examining a number of elk horns we find a very remarkable variety, 
no two antlers being exactly alike on the same animal. We possess one 
pair which has a blunt prong extending downward on the right side of the 
face about nine inches, whilst the corresponding prong on the opposite side 
is turned upwards. The horns of this individual have five prongs on one 

ELK. 85 

horn and seven on the other. The horns are longitudinally channelled, 
most of the prongs inclining forward and upward, especially those nearest 
the roots of the main horn. All the horns are large and round, with brow 
antlers. The weight of the horns on full grown animals, as we have as- 
certained by weighing about a dozen of large size, is from thirty to forty- 
five pounds. 

The three hindermost teeth in the upper jaw are double ; the remainder 
single. There are in the upper jaw of the male two very small canine 
teeth inclining forward almost on a line with the jaw. There is a short 
rudimentary mane on the fore-shoulder, and under the throat during the 
winter there are long black hairs. 

There is a space on the outer side of the hind legs covered by a tuft, 
which is of an irregular oval shape, of about one and a half inch in length, 
the hairs which cover it being an inch long, lying flat and backwards, with 
shorter hairs extending down the leg several inches below the space. 

The hairs on the body generally are very coarse, rather short ; longest 
on the back of the ham, where the whitish patch and the black line on the 
latter unite. 

The tail, which in summer is not bushy, is thinly clothed with hair run- 
ning to a point. A young male has its horns which are in velvet, nearly 
perpendicular, running but slightly backwards to the length of fourteen 
inches, where they divide into three short prongs. 



Muzzle, nostrils, and hoofs, black ; head, dark brown ; neck, rather 
darker, being nearly black ; on each side of the under jaw there is a 
longitudinal white patch, between which there is a large black stripe 
extending along the lines of the under jaw, dividing about four inches 
from the mouth, and continuing downward to the throat, where it unites 
again and is diffused in the general black colour of the throat and neck, 
leaving in its course a white space between the bone of the lower jaw. 
nearly as large as a man's hand. 

There is no light-coloured ring, or space, around the eyes as in the Euro- 
pean red deer, but in the present species the space around the socket of 
the eye is scarcely a shade lighter than the surrounding parts of the head. 

Under surface of the ear. yellowish white, with a hue of dark brown 
on the margin; on the outer surface of the ear, there is a white patch 
:!li(Hit four inches in length and nearly two inches wide, covering about. 
:i third of the ear, and running from near the root of the ear upwards at 
the lower edge 

86 ELK - 

In the younger males the head, face and back of the neck are not near- 
ly as dark as in specimens of old animals ; the under jaw and throat how- 
ever as well as a space above the nostrils are black as in the latter. The 
upper and under surfaces of body and legs are light brownish gray, the 
legs being rather darker than the body. 

On the rump there is a broad patch of light grayish white commencing 
nine inches above the root of the tail, spreading downward on each side 
to a point in the ham, ten inches below the tail. It is fourteen inches 
across opposite the root of the tail, (from one ham to the other,) and 
twenty-two inches in length from the back to the termination on the thigh 
or ham below the tail. This grayish white patch is bordered on the thighs 
by a strongly marked black space which also separates it all around, al- 
though less conspicuously from the general colour of the body. We 
have observed that in young specimens this pale mark on the rump is less 
conspicuous, and in one specimen is not even perceptible, and this peculi- 
arity has most probably misled some of our authors in regard to the spe- 

In specimens of about two years old the light but scarcely perceptible 
markings on the rump gradually change to grayish brown between the hind 
legs. In a still younger specimen of a male about eighteen months old 
which has the horns three inches in height, (which are completely clothed 
with soft brownish hairs to their summits,) there is scarcely any black on 
the neck, and the white on the rump is not visible. 

Female in summer colour. 

We possess this animal in a state of confinement : she has like all the 
females of this species no horns. She bears a strong resemblance in form 
and colour to the male. Her neck is rather thinner and longer, and her 
legs and body more slender. Her eyes are mild, and she is in her dispo- 
sition very gentle and docile. The hair in summer is like that of the 
male, uniform in colour from the roots to the surface. 

Winter colour. 

Both males and females in winter assume a very heavy coat of dark 
gray hair all over the body. These hairs are about two and a half inches 
to three long and are moderately coarse and strong. 

When examined separately they have a wavy or crimped appearance. 
The white patch on the rump is strongly developed in contrast with 
the dark iron-gray colour of the winter coat. At this season the male 
has a remarkable growth of hairs on the throat as well as on the back 
of the neck, which increase considerably in length, so that the latter 
might easily be mistaken for the rudiment of a mane. 

ELK. 87 

















Adult male (killed on the Upper Missouri River). 

From nose to root of tail, .... 

Length of tail, ...... 

of eye, - .... 

From tip of nose to root of ear, - 

Length of ear, 

Height to shoulders, 


Girth back of fore-legs, - - - - - 

The females we measured were rather smaller than the above : one 
killed on the Yellow Stone River measured seven feet six and a half 
inches from nose to root of tail, and four feet seven inches from top of 
shoulder to the ground. 


On our plate we have represented a pair of Elks in the foreground of 
a prairie scene, with a group of small figures in the distance; it gives 
but a faint idea of this animal in its wild and glorious prairie home : Ob- 
serve the splendid buck, as lip walks lightly, proudly, and gracefully 
along, ll is the season of love : bis head is raised above the willows bor- 
dering the large sand-bar on the shores of the Missouri, his spreading 
antlers have acquired their full growth, the velvet has been rubbed oft', 
and they are hard and polished. His large amber-coloured eyes are 
brightened by the sun, his neck is arched, and every vein is distended, 
lie looks around and snuffs the morning air with dilated nostrils : anon 
he Stamps the earth with his fore-feet and utters a shrill cry somewhat 
like the noise made by the loon. When he discovers a group of females 
he raises his head, inclines it backwards, and giving another trumpet-like 
whistle, dashes off to meet them, making the willows and other small 
trees yield and crack as he rushes by. He soon reaches the group, but proba- 
bly finds as large and brave a buck as himself gallanting the fair objects oi 
his pursuit, and now his eyes glow with rage and jealousy, his teeth are. 
fiercely champed together making a loud harsh noise, his hair stands 
erect, and with the points of his immense horns lowered like the lance 
of a doughty knight in times of yore, be leaps towards his rival and im- 

88 ELK. 

mediately a desperate battle ensues. The furious combatants sway back- 
wards and forwards, sideways or in circles, each struggling to get with- 
in the other's point, twisting their brawny necks, and writhing as they 
endeavour to throw their opponent off the ground. At length our valorous 
Elk triumphs and gores the other, so that he is worsted in the fight, and 
turns ingloriously and flies, leaving the field and the females in posses- 
sion of the victor : for should there be any young Elks present during such 
a combat, they generally run off. 

The victorious buck now ranges the tangled woods or leads the does 
to the sand-bars or the willow-covered points along the broad stream. 
After a certain period, however, he leaves them to other bucks, and to- 
wards the latter part of February his antlers drop off, his body is much 
emaciated, and he retires to some secluded spot, where he hopes no ene- 
mies will discover him, as he is no longer vigorous and bold, and would 
dread to encounter even a single wolf. 

When we first settled (as it is termed) in the State of Kentucky, some 
of these animals were still to be met with ; but at present we believe none 
are to be found within hundreds of miles of our then residence. During 
a journey we made through the lower part of the State, armed as usual 
with our double-barrelled gun, whilst passing through a heavy-timbered 
tract not far from Smithland at the mouth of the Cumberland River, we 
espied two Elks, a male and female, which started out of a thicket not 
more than forty or fifty yards from us. Our gun being loaded with balls, 
we fired successfully and brought down the buck. The tavern keeper at 
Smithland went after the animal with a wagon and brought him into the 
little village. The hunters in the neighbourhood said they had not seen 
or heard of Elks in that part of the State for several years, although 
some were to be found across the Ohio, in the state of Illinois. 

At the time we are writing (1847) the Elk is not seen in any numbers 
until you ascend the Missouri River for a great distance. In that part of 
the country, where the points in the river are well covered with wood 
and under-brush, they are to be found at times in considerable numbers. 
These animals however do not confine themselves to the neighbourhood of 
the water-courses, but roam over the prairies in large herds. Unless 
disturbed or chased, they seldom leave a secluded retreat in a thickly- 
wooded dell, except to go to the river to drink, or sun themselves on the 
sand-bars. They are partial to the islands covered with willow, cotton 
wood, &c, and fringed with long grass, upon which they make a bed 
during the hot sultry hours of the day. They also form a bed occa- 
sionally in the top of a fallen tree. 

During hot weather, when mosquitoes abound in the woods, they re- 



tire to ponds or proceed to the rivers and immerse their hodies and 
heads, leaving merely enough of their noses above the water to allow 
them to breathe. 

"Whilst ascending the Missouri river in the steamer Omega, we observed 
:i Fawn of this species one morning running alonsr the shore under a high 
bank. It was covered with yellowish white spots, was as nimble and ac- 
tive as a kitten, and soon reached a place where it could ascend the bank, 
when it scampered off amid the tall grass. We had on board a servant of 
Mr. Ciiardon named Alexis Labombarde who was a most expert hunter. 
We soon saw another fawn, and Alexis went after it, the boat having stop- 
ped to wood. He climbed the bank and soon overtook the little animal, 
but having no rope or cord with him, was at a loss how to secure his cap- 
tive. He took off his suspenders and with these and his pocket-handkerchief 
managed to fasten the fawn around the neck, but on attempting to drag 
it toward the boat the suspenders gave way and the fawn dropped into the 
stream, and swam a few yards lower down, where it again landed; one 
of our party witnessed from the steamboat the ineffectual efforts of Labom- 
barde and ran up to his assistance, but also without a rope or cord, and 
after much ado the animal again swam off and escaped. 

The food of the Elk consists generally of the grass found in the woods, 
the wild pea-vines, the branches of willows, lichens, and the buds of 
ro>;rs. &c. During the winter they scrape the snow from the ground 
with their fore-feet, and eat the tender roots and bark of shrubs and 
small trees. 

( ta our reaching Fort Pierre we were presented by Mr. Picot with 
a most splendidly prepared skin of a superb male Elk, and a pair of horns. 
The latter measured four feet six and a half inches in length ; breadth 
between the points twenty-seven and a half inches. The circumference 
of the skull or base ten inches, the knob twelve inches, between the 
knobs three inches. This animal, one of the largest ever seen by Mr. 
Picot, was killed in the month of November, 1832. 

llr.ARNE says that the Elk is (he most stupid of all the deer kind; but 
our experience has led us widely to differ from that traveller, as we 
have always found these animals as wary and cunning as any of the 
deer tribe with which we are acquainted. We strongly suspect Hearne 
had reference to another species, the American reindeer. 

We chanced one day to land on a sand-bar covered with the broad 
deep tracks of apparently some dozen Elks: all the hunters we had in our 
boat prepared to join in the chase, ami we among the rest, with our old 
trusty double-barrelled Run. sallied forth, and while passing through a 
larcre patch of willows, came suddenly upon a very large buck : the noble 

vot. ii. — 12 

90 ELK - 

animal was not more than a few steps from where we stood : our gun 
was levelled in an instant, and we pulled trigger, but the cap did not ex- 
plode. The Elk was startled by the noise of the falling hammer, and 
wheeling round, throwing up the loose soil with his hoofs, galloped off 
among the willows towards the river, making a clear path through 
the small trees and grass. We ran to intercept him, but were too late, 
and on reaching the bank the Elk was already far out in the stream, 
swimming rapidly with its shoulders and part oTf its back above water. 
On the opposite shore there was a narrow beach, and the moment the 
Elk touched the bottom, it sprang forward and in a bound or two was 
out of sight behind the fringing margin of trees on the shore- This, we 
are sorry to say, was the only Elk we had an opportunity of firing at 
whilst on our last western expedition. 

The pair from which the figures on our plate were taken we purchased 
at Philadelphia : they had been caught when young in the western part of 
Pennsylvania ; the male was supposed to be four or five years old, and 
the female also was full grown. These Elks were transported from Phil- 
adelphia to our place near New- York, and we had a capacious and high 
enclosure made for them. The male retained much of its savage habits 
when at liberty, but the female was quite gentle. When she was first 
put in the pen, where the buck was already pacing round seeking for a 
weak point in the enclosure, he rushed towards her, and so terrified her 
that she made violent exertions to escape, and ran at full speed with her 
head up and her nostrils distended, round and round, until we had the 
large box in which she had been brought up from Philadelphia placed in 
the enclosure, when she entered it as a place of refuge, and with her head 
towards the opening stood on her defence, on which the male gave up the 
pursuit, and this box was afterwards resorted to whenever she wished to 
be undisturbed. 

We had some difficulty in taking the bridle off from the head of the buck, 
as he kicked and pranced furiously whenever any one approached for that 
purpose, and we were forced to secure his head by means of a lasso over 
his horns, and drawing him by main force to a strong post, when one of 
our men cut the leather with a knife. 

While these two Elks were kept by us they were fed on green oats, hay, 
Indian corn, and all such food as generally is given to the cow, excepting 
turnips, which they would not touch. 

We found that the pair daily ate as much food as would have sufficed 
for two horses. They often whistled (as the hunters call this remarka- 
ble noise, which in calm weather can be heard nearly a mile) ; this shrill 
sound appears to be produced by an almost spasmodic effort, during which 



the animal turns its head upwards and then backwards. While we were 
outlining the male, we often observed him to dilate the lachrymal spaces 
or openings adjoining the eyes, so thai they were almost as wide as long. 
When We drew near he would incline his head sideways, curl back his 
upper lip, and show a portion of his tongue and fine teeth, which last he 
ground or grated together, turning his head the while from side to side, 
and eyeing us with a look of angry suspicion. His eyes enlarged and his 
whole figure partook of the excitement he felt. 

The process of rubbing off the velvel from the horns was soon ac- 
complished by this animal ; he began the moment he had been taken 
out of his box, to rub againsl the small dog-wood and other trees that 
stood within tin- enclosure. At a later period of the year we have 
observed the Elk rubbing his antlers against small trees, and acting as if 
engaged in fighl ; whether this manoeuvre lie performed tin- the purpose 
ofloosening the horns, towards the period when they annually drop off, 
we, in parliamentary language, are nol prepared to say. 

Elks at times congregate from the number of fifty to several hundreds, 
and in these cases the whole herd follow the movements of their leader, 
which is generally the largest and the strongest male of the party. They 
all stop when he stops, and at times they will all turn about with as much 
order and with far greater celerity than a troop of horse, of which, when 
thus seen in array, they forcibly remind us. 

From accident or otherwise great differences exist in the formation of 
the antlers of the Elk, although the horns of all the American Ccrvii 
are s.> specifically distinct as to enable the close observer to tell al- 
most at a glance to whal species any shown to him belonged. The 
ea^e with which these animals pass, encumbered with their ponderous 
and wide-spreading antlers, through the heavy-timbered lands of the 
West, is truly marvellous ; and we can hardly help wondering that they 
are not oftener caught and entangled by their horns. Instances there 
doubtless are of their perishing from getting fastened between vines, or 
thick trrowiiiL r trees, but such cases are rare. 

The male Elk drops his horns in February or March. The one we 
had dropped one on the ninth of March, and as the other horn held on for 
a day or two longer, the animal in this situation had quite an awkward 
appearance. M'lcr the horns fall, the head looks sore, and sometimes 
the places from which they have been detached are tinned with blood. 
As soon .as the huge antlers drop off, the Elks lose their tierce and pug* 
nacious character, and the females are no longer afraid of them ; while 
on the other hand, the males show them no farther attentions whatever. 

92 ELK. 

The young, sometimes one, but usually two in number, are brought 
forth in the latter end of May or June. It is stated by Godman, we 
know not on what authority, that when twins are produced they are 
generally male and female. 

A friend of ours related to us some time ago the following anecdote. 
A gentleman in the interior of Pennsylvania who kept a pair of Elks in a 
large woodland pasture, was in the habit of taking pieces of bread or a 
few handfuls of corn with him when he walked in the enclosure, to 
feed these animals, calling them up for the amusement of his friends. 
Having occasion to pass through his park one day, and not having provi- 
ded himself with bread or corn for his pets, he was followed by the buck, 
who expected his usual gratification : the gentleman, irritated by the per- 
tinacity with which he was accompanied, turned round, and picking up 
a small stick, hit the animal a smart blow, upon which, to his astonish- 
ment and alarm, the buck, lowering his head, rushed at him and made a 
furious pass with his horns : luckily the gentleman stumbled as he at- 
tempted to fly, and fell over the prostrate trunk of a tree, near which lay 
another log, and being able to throw his body between the two trunks, 
the Elk was unable, to injure him, although it butted at him repeatedly 
and kept him prisoner for more than an hour. Not relishing this pro- 
ceeding, the gentleman, as soon as he escaped, gave orders to have the 
unruly animal destroyed. 

The teeth of the Elk are much prized by the Indians to ornament their 
dresses ; a " queen's robe " presented to us is decorated with the teeth of 
fifty-six Elks. This splendid garment, which is made of antelope skins, 
was valued at no less than thirty horses ! 

The droppings of the Elk resemble those of other deer, but are much 

The Elk, like other deer, lie down during the middle of the day, and 
feed principally at early morning, and late in the evening. They drink a 
good deal of water. 

This species can be easily domesticated, as we have observed it in 
menasjeries and in parks both of Europe and America. The males, like 
those of the Virginian deer, as they advance in age, by their pugna- 
cious habits are apt to become troublesome and dangerous. The Elk 
lives to a great age, one having been kept in the possession of the elder 
Peale of Philadelphia for thirteen years ; we observed one in the Park 
of a nobleman in Austria that had been received from America twenty- 
five years before. 




We have every reason to believe, that the Elk once was found on nearly 
every portion of the temperate latitudes of North America. It has never 
advanced as far north as the moose deer, but it ranges much farther 
to the south. The earliest explorers of America nearly all speak of 
the existence of the stag, which they supposed was identical with the 
stag or red deer of Europe. It differs from the Virginian deer, which 
continues to range in the vicinity of settlements and is not driven from 
its favourite haunts by the cry of the hounds or the crack of the rifle. 
(In the contrary the Elk. like the buffalo, takes up its line of march, 
crosses broad rivers and flies to the yet unexplored forests, as soon as 
it catches the scent and hears the report of the gun of the white man. 
\i present there is only a narrow range on the Alleghany mountains where 
the Elk still exists, in small and decreasing numbers, east of the Missouri, 
and these remnants probably of large herds would undoubtedly migrate 
elsewhere were they not restricted to their present wild mountainous and 
hardly accessible range, by the extensive settlements on the west and 

Mr, Pi: ale of Philadelphia mentioned to us some fifteen years ago, that 
the only region in the Atlantic States where he could procure specimens 
of the Elk was the highest and most sterile mountains in the northwest 
of Pennsylvania, where he had on several occasions gone to hunt them. 

Dr. Dekay (New- York Fauna, p. 119) mentions, on the authority of 
Beach and Vaughan, two hunters in whose statements confidence could 
be placed, that as late as 1826, Elks were seen and killed on the north 
branch of the Saranac. On a visit to Western Virginia in 1847, we 
heard of the existence of a small herd of Elk that had been known for 
many years to range along the high and sterile mountains about forty 
miles to the west of the Red Sulphur Springs. The herd was composed 
of eight males, whose number was ascertained by their tracks in the 
snow. One of these had been killed by a hunter, and the number was 
reduced to seven. Our informant, a friend in whom the highest confidence 
could be placed, supposed, as all the individuals in the herd had horns, the 
race would soon disappear from the mountains. As, however, the males at 
certain seasons keep in separate groups, we have no doubt there was a 
similar or larger herd of females in the same range ; but the number is 
doubtless annually lessening, and in all probability it will not be many 
years before the Elk will be entirely extirpated, to beyond several hun- 
died miles west of the Mississippi. 

94 ELK. 

This animal, according to Richardson, does not extend its range farther 
to the north than the 56th or 57th parallel of latitude, nor is it found to 
the eastward of a line drawn from the south end of Lake Winnepeg to 
the Saskatchewan in the 103d degree of longitude, and from thence till it 
strikes the Elk river in the 1 1 1th degree. It is found on the western 
prairies, and ranges along the eastern sides of the mountains in Texas 
and New Mexico. It is also found in Oregon and California. Its most 
southern geographical range still remains undetermined. 


The family of Elks was by all our old authors placed in the same genus 
with the true deer, (Cervus,) to which they are very closely allied in their 
character and habits. As that genus however has been greatly enlarged 
in consequence of the discovery of new species, the deer have been conve- 
niently divided into several sub-genera, of which our species is the lar- 
gest and most interesting among the true Elks (Elaphus). 

The American Elk, Wappite, or Stag, was for a long period considered 
identical with the European red deer, (C. Elaphus,) and was, we believe, 
first treated as a distinct species by Ray. It was subsequently noticed by 
Jefferson and described and figured in the Medical Repository. The dif- 
ference between these two species is so great that they may be distin- 
guished at a glance. Our Elk is fully a foot higher at the shoulders than 
the European red stag. The common stag or red deer is of a uniform 
blackish brown, whilst the Elk has all its upper parts and lower jaw yel- 
lowish brown. It has also a black mark on the angle of the mouth which 
is wanting in the other. In the European species the circle around the 
eye is white, in the American it is brown. There are other marks of dif- 
ference which it is unnecessary to point out, as the species are now re- 
garded by all naturalists as distinct. 

Our esteemed friend Dr. RrcHARDsoN has applied to this species the name 
of Cervus strongyloceros of Schreber, because the figure of Perrault 
(Mem. sur les an. vol. 2, p. 45) did not exhibit the pale mark on the rump, 
and he thought it not improbable that Perrault's figure was that of the 
black-tailed deer {Cervus macrotis). We do not believe that the latter spe- 
cies ever reaches the latitude where Perrault's specimen was procured ; 
but as we have already stated in this article, younger specimens of our 
Elk exhibit only faint traces of this pale mark on the rump, and in some 
they are entirely wanting. We have scarcely a doubt that Ray's de- 
scription was intended to apply to our American Elk, and we have there- 
fore adopted his specific name. 





Black Tailed Hare. 


L. magnitudine, L. glacialem adaequans, supra flavescente fusco cano- 
que varius, subtus albus ; auribus pedibusque praelongis, Cauda longa, 


Size of the polar hare ; ears and legs, very long ; tail, long and black ; 
mottled with gray and yellowish-brown above, beneath, white. 


Lepus C allows, Wagler, 1832. 

" Nigricaudatus, Bennett, Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 
1833, p. 41, marked in the Catalogue of the Zoological Society, 582. 
Lepus Nigricaudatus, Bachman, Journal of the Academy Nat. Sciences, Philadel- 
phia, vol. viii., pt. 1, p. 84, an. 1839. 


This interesting species is similar to others composing a certain group 
of hares found in America, characterized by being large, and having very 
long ears, and long and slender legs and bodies, the whole form indicating 
capacity for long leaps and rapid locomotion. In all these characteristics, 
Lepus Callotis approaches nearest to Tovvnsend's hare, (Lepus Toini- 
sendii,) which may be considered the type of this group. 


The whole of the upper surface, fawn colour, tipped with black ; hairs 
on the back, silvery gray for one-third of their length, then pale fawn, 
then black, then fawn, tipped with black. Back of the neck, brownish 
black, slightly tipped with fawn. A number of hairs of unusual length, 
ft wo and one-fourth inches,) and delicately interspersed along the sides ; 
in the greatest abundance along the shoulders. These hairs are black 
from the base for two-thirds of their length, the remainder pale fawn ; 


sides, and under parts of the neck, dingy pale fawn, gradually becoming 
white on the chest ; haunches, legs and under surface white ; the hairs 
on the rump annulated with black, and near the root of the tail almost 
entirely black ; the whole of the tail on the upper surface to the extrem- 
ity black ; on the under surface the hairs are black from the roots, slightly 
tipped with grayish brown. Hairs on the under surface of the feet, in 
some specimens red, in others a soiled yellowish-brown. Ears, posteriorly 
for two-thirds of their breadth black at the roots, gradually blending into 
fawn, and on the inner third the longitudinal line of demarcation being 
very distinct ; this fawn colour is mixed with black hairs, edged at the tip 
with black, the remainder of the edge fawn ; the outer margin of the pos- 
terior surface to its apex pure white. Inner surface of the ears nearly 
naked, except at the outer edge, where they are clothed with short griz- 
zled brown hairs. Whiskers white and black, the former predominating ; 
chin and throat, white. The marginal line of demarcation between the 
colour of the back and that of the under surface, is somewhat abrupt 
across the upper portion of the thighs, and very distinctly marked. 



Length from point of nose to root of tail, 20 

Tail (vertebrae), 1| 

" including fur, ------- 2J 

From heel to longest nail, ------ 4| 

Head over the curve, ------- 4A 

From eye to nose, ------- i| 

Ears posteriorly, ------- 43 

Greatest breadth, 2£ 


Our account of this species is principally derived from the journals of 1. 
W. Audubon, kept during his journey through part of Texas, made for ihe 
ourpose of procuring the animals of that State, and obtaining some knowl- 
edge of their habits for our present work, in 1845 and 1846, with an ex- 
tract from which we now present our readers. 

"One fine morning in January, 1845, at San Antonio de Bexar, as I 
mounted my faithful one-eyed chesnut horse, admiring his thin neck and 
bony legs, his delicate head and flowing flaxen tail and mane, I was 
saluted with a friendly good morning by Mr. Calahan, then holding the 
important office of mayor of the little village ; and on his ascertaining 
that my purpose was to have a morning hunt on the prairies and through 



the chapparal, which I did day after day, he agreed to accompany me in 
search of the animals I was anxiously trying to obtain, and in quest of 
which I rode over miles of prairie with my bridle on the knobbed pum- 
mel of my Texan saddle, the most comfortable saddle I have ever tried, 
(being a sort of half Spanish, half English build.) my horse with his neck 
stretched out and his head about on a level with his shoulders, walking 
between four and five miles an hour, turning to the right or to the left 
agreeably to the slightest movement of my body, so well was he trained, 
leaving both hands and eyes free, so that I could search with the latter 
every twig, tussock or thicket, and part the thick branches of the chap- 
paral of musquit, prickly holly, and other shrubs, which 1 am inclined to 
think quite equal to any East-Indian jungle in offering obstructions to the 
progress of either horse or man. 

Mr. Calahan having mounted, we set out, and after about an hour's 
hard work, occupied in crossing one of the thickest covers near the 
town, gained the broad and nearly level prairie beyond, across which to 
the west we could see varied swelling undulations, gradually fading into 
the faint outline of a distant spur, perhaps of the rocky chain of mountains 
that in this latitude lie between the water courses flowing toward the Gulf 
of Mexico, and the streams that empty into the Gulf of California : solar 
away indeed seemed these faint blue peaks that it required but a little 
stretch of the imagination to fancy the plains of California but just at 
the other side. I was enchanted with the scene, scarcely knowing whether 
the brilliant fore-ground of cacti and tropical plants, the soft indefinite dis- 
tance, or the clear summer blur sky, was most beautiful. My compan- 
ion observing my enthusiasm, wanned into praises of his adopted country 
he had, he said, fought hard for it, and exclaimed, it is a country worth 
fighting for ; when my reply, of whatever nature it might have been, was 
prevented, and all ideas of blue mountains, vast rolling prairies, &c, were 
cut short by a jackass rabbit bounding from under our horses' feet; he 
was instantly followed by my worthy friend the mayor at full speed on his 
white pony, to my great annoyance, for otherwise he would have stopped 
in a hundred yards or so. Away they went, and as my friend's horse 
was a running nag, he doubtless expected to overtake the Hare, which had 
only gained about fifty yards start during our momentary surprise. The 
Hare, as 1 quickly observed, did not make much shorter leaps than the 
horse. I could see it at each bound appear like a jack-o'-lantern floating 
with the breeze over a swamp, but in less time than I have taken to write 
ihis. they had ran a mile, the Hare doubled and was a hundred yards in 
advance, but could not, stop and look behind, for he had such a race 
that he knew well no time was to be lost in gaining some bed 
oi. ii.— 13 


of cactus or chapparal. Now on came both Hare and hunter, and 
the race was of the swiftest when another double caused the rider to 
pull up with such force that his stirrup leather broke, and the space be- 
tween the mayor and the object of his pursuit was widened to a quarter 
of a mile, and the chase ended ; our friend dismounting to refit. We had 
not the good fortune to start another of these hares that day. 

Some time afterwards while at Castroville, a little place of about a 
dozen huts and one house, this Hare was procured by a party of Indians 
and brought to J. W. Audubon, who writes : " I chanced to be visited by 
some of the Shawnee Indians who were in the neighbourhood on a hunt- 
ing expedition. They were highly astonished and pleased with my draw- 
ings, which I exhibited to them while trying to explain what animals I 
wanted. I made a hasty sketch of a hare with immensely long ears, at 
which I pointed with an approving nod of the head, and then made anoth- 
er sketch smaller and with shorter ears, at which last I shook my head 
and made wry faces ; the. Indians laughed, and by their gutteral eugh, haugh, 
li, gave me to understand that they comprehended me ; and in a day or 
two, I had a beautiful specimen of the Black-tailed Hare brought to me, 
but with the head shot off by a rifle ball. The Indians were quite dis- 
appointed that it did not answer my purpose, and smoothed down the fur 
on the body, which is the only part of the skin they generally preserve, and 
what they thought I wanted. 

The specimen I drew from was shot by Povvel, one of Colonel Hays' 
rangers, from whom I received many attentions and who acted most 
kindly while with me on one of my excursions from San Antonio. This 
Hare is so rare in those parts of Texas that I visited, that I can say little 
of its habits. It appears to be solitary, or nearly so, fond of high open 
prairie with clumps of trees, or rather bushes and thickets about them, 
trusting to its speed for safety and only taking cover from hawks and 
eagles. Near San Petruchio, as I was informed, this Hare is more abun- 
dant than in this vicinity, and two or three of them can occasionally be 
started in a morning's ride." 

The specimen from which Mr. Bennett described and named this Hare 
(Lcpus nigricaudatus, Bennett, Zoological Proceedings, 1833, p. 41), has a 
more definitely marked line of white along the sides and legs than the one 
I drew from ; but this species varies so much in its markings, that one figure 
with the characters given is probably as like the majority as another. 

The line of white and black near the tip of the ears extended longitu- 
dinally, is by many considered a good specific character, but it does not, 
I think, hold out in respect to this animal. 


It is singular that this fine species of Hare should be so rare in the col- 
lections of Europe ; I saw only two, and did not hear of the existence of 
any in the museums which I had not an opportunity of examining. 

Since the Mexican war broke out, several have been sent home by our 
officers. We have the pleasure of acknowledging the receipt of a fine 
skin from Lieutenant Abert, who also favoured us with some skins of 
quadrupeds from the vicinity of Santa Fe, which we shall have occasion to 
nut ice elsewhere, and for which we return him our best thanks. 

This species is called the Jackass Rabbit in Texas, owing to the length of 
its cars. 


This Hare is found as far north as Santa Fe, in the great prairies ; it 
does not, however, occur near the shores of the lower Red River, nor 
near the Gulf of Mexico indeed, until we get as far south as about lati- 
tude 30°, from which parallel to the southward it becomes more abundant, 
and may be said to be the common Hare of Mexico. Whether it is found 
beyond the limits of North America we are unable to say, but suppose not, 
as the museums of Europe have been better supplied with South American 
species than with those of our northern portion of the Western hemisphere, 
and as already observed, do not contain more than the two specimens men- 
tioned above, one of which is stated to have been received from Mexico 
and the other from California. 


There is a specimen in the Berlin Museum, labelled Lepus Callotis,W ab- 
ler, described by him in 1832. This specimen corresponds in all essential 
particulars with that which exists in the Zoological Museum of London, de- 
scribed by Bennett. Hence we are obliged to adopt Wagler's name, he 
having the priority as the first scientific describer. 



The Small Weasel. 

P. erminia tertia parti rfiinore ; cauda breviuscula. Supra rufo-fuscus 
subtus albus. 


A third smaller than the Ermine ; tail rather short ; Colour, brown 
above white beneath. 


Mustela (putorius) Vulgaris, Bach., Fauna Bor. Am., vol. i., p. 45. 
P. Vulgaris, Emmons, Mass. Report, 1840, p. 44. 
Mustela Pusilla, Dekay, Nat. Hist. N. Y., p. 34. 


This is much the smallest of all our species of Weasel, if we are to judge 
from two specimens that are in our possession, which appear to be full 
grown. The tail is about one-fourth the length of the body, and is a lit- 
tle longer than that of the common Weasel {M. Vulgaris) of Europe. It 
is, however, a still smaller animal, and differs from it in several other 
particulars : its ears are less broad, its feet smaller, the colour on the 
back is a shade darker, the white on the under surface extends much far- 
ther along the sides, towards the back, and the dividing line between the 
colours on the upper and lower surface is more distinct. The head is 
small, neck slender, and the body vermiform. Whiskers the length of 
the head, ears very small, toes and nails slender, covered with hairs. 


We are inclined to believe that this species does not become white in 
winter. We kept a small weasel alive throughout a winter in our boy- 
hood, but cannot now decide whether it was this species or another, 
(P. Fuscus,) which we will describe in cirr next volume. That species 
underwent no change in winter. It is more glossy than the ermine in 







summer pelage, and a shade paler in colour. It is light yellowish brown 
on the head, neck, and the whole of the upper surface ; this colour pre- 
vails on the outer portions of the fore-legs to near the feet, the outer sur 
face of the hind-legs, the rump, and the whole of the tail, which is not 
tipped with black as in the ermine. The white on the under surface com- 
mences on the upper lips and extends along the neck, inner surface of 
the legs, rises high up along the sides, including the outer and inner 
surfaces of the feet. The moustaches are white and black, the former 
colour predominating. 



Length from point of nose to root of tail, - - - 7 

Head and neck, ....-.-3 

Tail (vertebra?), 2 

" including fur. ....... SJj 


From the form and structure of this species, we might naturally pre- 
sume that it possesses all the habits of the ermine. It feeds on insects, 
eggs of birds, and mice, but from its diminutive size we are led to sup- 
pose that it is not mischievous in the poultry house, and would scarcely 
venture to attack a full-grown Norway rat. 


The specimens from which our descriptions were made, were obtained 
in the State of New-York, one at the Catskills, and the other at Long 
Island. If it should prove to be the species we once had in captivity, it 
exists also in the northern part of New- York, where we captured it. 
Richardson asserts that it exists as far to the North as the Saskatchewan 
river, and Captain Bayfield obtained specimens at Lake Superior. 


Sir John Richardson states that this species, like the ermine, becomes 
white in winter in the fur countries. We are disposed to believe that 
this is not the case in the latitude of New- York. This fact, however, 
is no evidence that the species in those widely separated localities 
are different. The ermine in the northern part of Virginia seldom un- 
dergoes a perfect change, and in Carolina remains brown throughout the 
whole year. Sir John Richardson states (p. 45) that the specimens pre- 
sented to the Zoological Society by Capt. Bayfield, agreed in all respects 


with the common weasel of Europe. We, however, examined these 
specimens and compared them with the European weasel, and found no 
difficulty in discovering characters by which the species are separated. 
We have an indistinct recollection that the prince of Musignano named 
the specimen in the Zoological Society ; but as he did not, as far 
as we know, describe it, we have, according to our views on these subjects, 
assigned to Dr. Dekay the credit of the specific name. 




MUS H U M I L I S.— Bachmaw . 

Little Harvest Mouse. 

PLATE LXV— Males ato Females. 

M. corpore supra rutilo-cinereo, et quoad baccas et lincam in utrisque 
lateribus ferrugineo ; subtus flavo-albente. M. musculus minor. 


Smaller than the house mouse ; colour, reddish-gray above : cheeks and 
line along the side, light ferruginous ; beneath, white ivith a yellowish tinge. 


Mrs iii-milib, Bach. Read before the Academy of Nat. Sciences, 1837. Journal 

Acad., vol. vii. 
Mis iilmilis, Bach., Acad. Nat. Sciences, Oct. 5th, 1841. 


Incisors, small and short ; head, much more rounded, nose, less pointed, 
and skull, proportionably broader than the corresponding portions in the 
common house-mouse ; legs, rather short, and slender ; there are four 
iocs on the fore-feet, with a minute and almost imperceptible nail in the 
place of a thumb ; on the hind-foot there are five toes ; claws short, weak, 
sharp, and slightly hooked ; nose, short and pointed; the moustaches arc 
composed of a few hairs, not rigid, of the length of the head ; the eyes 
ate smaller and less prominent than those of the white-footed mouse, re- 
sembling those of the common house-mouse ; the cars arc of moderate 
size, broad at base, erect, ovate, clothed on both surfaces and around the 
edges with short adpressed hairs, extending a little beyond the fur; 
palms naked ; upper surface of feet covered with hairs to the end of nails; 
the tail is round when the animal is in a living state, but after the speci- 
mens are dried, becomes square ; it is thinly clothed with short hairs ; the 
fur on the whole body is short, glossy, and very fine. 



Teeth, yellow ; nails, white ; eyes, black ; moustaches, mostly white ; 
a few near the nostrils black ; nose, cheeks, ears on both surfaces, and a 
line extending from the sides of the neck running along the shoulder and 
separating the colours of the back and under surface, dark buff; on the 
back, the hairs are plumbeous at the roots, then yellowish fawn colour ; 
upper lips, chin, and throat, white ; neck and under surface of body 
white shaded with buff. 



From point of nose to root of tail, 2f 

Tail, 2 

Height of ear, ... g. 


By the casual observer, this diminutive little species, on being started 
from its retreat in the long grass, or under some fence or pile of brushwood, 
might be mistaken for the young of the white-footed mouse (Mus leucopus), 
or that of the jumping mouse (Meriones Americanus). It however differs 
widely from either, and bears but a general resemblance to any of our 
American species. 

About twenty years ago, whilst we were endeavouring to make our- 
selves acquainted with the species of smaller rodentia existing in the 
Southern States, we discovered this little Mouse in the grass fields and 
along the fences of the plantations a few miles from Charleston, S. C. 
We procured it in the way in which field mice and other small quadru- 
peds in all countries can be most easily obtained, by having what are 
denominated figure of 4 traps, set along fences and ditches in the evening, 
baited with meat and seeds of various kinds. On the following morning 
we usually were rewarded with a number of several interesting species. 
We on two occasions preserved this Mouse in a domestic state, once for a 
year, during which time it produced two broods of young : the first 
consisting of four were born in May, the second of three in July. 
They reared all their young. We fed them at first on pea or ground nuts, 
(Hypogea aracliis,) cornmeal, (maize,) the latter they preferred boiled, but 
after having tempted their appetites with the seeds of the Egyptian Mil- 
let, (Pennisitum tiphoidcum.) we discovered that they relished it so well, 
we allowed it finally to become their exclusive food. They refused meat on 


all occasions. They were very gentle, allowed themselves to be taken 
into the hand, and made no attempt to bite, or scarcely any to escape. 
The young, when born, were naked and blind, but in a very Few days be- 
eamc covered witli hair, and at a week old were seen peeping out of their 
nests. We did not discover that the female dragged the young, attached 
tn the teats, in the manner of the white-footed mouse. We placed a fe- 
male in a cage with a male- of the white-footed mouse: they lived on tol- 
erably good terms for six months, but produced no young. We then placed 
the same female with the male of the common mouse. The latter imme- 
diately commenced fighting with our little pet, and in the morning she 
was found dead in the cage, bitten and mutilated in various places. 

This to us is a rare species; after a search of twenty years we ha\e 
obtained only a dozen specimens from the fields. The nests, which we 
have oftener seen than their occupants, were placed on the surface of 
the ground among the long grass, composed of soft withered grasses, and 
covered < ver in the manner of the nest of Wilson's meadow mouse. We 
have also seen the nests of this species under brush-heaps and beneath 
the rails of fences, similarly constructed. 

We doubt, whether this species is of much injury to the farmer. It 
consumes but little grain, is more fond of residing near crass fields, on 
the seeds of which it subsists, than among the wheat fields. We have 
observed in its nest small stores of grass seeds — the outer husks and 
other remains of the Broom grass (Andropogon dissitiflorum) — also that, of 
the Crab crass (Digitaria sanguinalis,) and small heaps of the seeds 
of several species of paspalum, poa and panicum, especially those of 
panicum Italicum. 

Tin specimen from which this description was taken was a little 
the largest of any we have seen. It was a female capture 1 on the 
10th December, and containing four young in its matrix : we presume 
therefore that, this species, like the field mice in general, produce yoimc 
several times during the summer. 


We have met with this species sparingly in South Carolina along the 
seaboard, and received it from Dr. Bareatt, of Abbeville, S. C. We pro- 
cured a specimen in Ebenezer, (Georgia,) where tin- inhabitants stated 
they bad never before observed it. A specimen was sent to us by our 
friend Mr. Biffin, who obtained it in Virginia. If we have not inad- 
vertently blended two species, this animal can be traced as far to the 
north-east as the State of Xew-York, several having been procured in 
traps on the farms in the vicinity of the city, 
vol.. II. — 11. 




We sent a minute description of this species to the Academy of Natural 
Sciences in 1837, which was read by our friend Dr. Morton ; although 
informed that it was published in the transactions of the Society, we have 
not seen it in print. A second description was published in the transac- 
tions of the same Society, October, 1841. We have not ascertained that 
the species has been noticed by any other naturalist. 

In examining the teeth of this species, we have found that the tuber- 
culous summits on the molars were less distinct than in those which le- 
gitimately belong to the genus Mus, and that there are angular ridges on 
the enamel by which it approaches the genus Arvicola ; it is in fact an 
intermediate species, but in the aggregate of its characteristics perhaps 
approaches nearest to Mus, where we for the present have concluded to 
leave it. 




1/ // ' / 

// //t . 



10 1—1 „, 7-7 6-6 

Incisive — ; Canine — ; Molar — • or — =48 or 50. 

Head, long and conical ; muzzle, pointed ; ears, large, membraneous, 
rounded, and almost naked ; tongue, acculeated ; internal toe of the hind 
foot, opposable to the fingers, and destitute of a nail, pendactylous; nails, 
curved ; tail, long, scaly, and slightly covered with rigid hair ; stomach, 
simple. Female, with a pouch. 

The generic name is derived from the Greek, dis, twice or double, and 
delphis, a womb. 

The interesting group of the Marsupialia has recently been arranged 
by Owen into five tribes and families, and sixteen genera; these include 
about seventy known species, to which additions are continually making ; 
the Virginian Opossum being, however, the only species known in 
America north of Mexico. Most of the other species of this genus (as 
at present restricted,) inhabit tropical America. It is composed of fifteen 
species, some of which are still doubtful. 


Virginian Opossum. 

PLATE LXVI. — Female, and Young Male seven months old 

D. pilis laneis basi albis, apice fuscis ; sericeis longis albis ; facie, 
rostro colloque pure albis; auriculis nigris apice fiavicantibus ; eauda 
corpora breviore basi pilosa tota albicante. 


Hair sup unii woolly, white near the roots, tipped with brown ; tin Ions 

hairs white and silky ; face near the snout, pure white; ears, black ; base 

and margin, whitish ; tail, shorter than the body ; base, covered with 
whitish hair. 



Vibodhan Opossum, Pennant, Hist. Quad., vol. ii., p. 18, pi. 03. 

Arctic Zoology, vol. i., p. 73. 
Sarigue des Illinois, Buft'., sup. 6. 
Opossum Americanus, D'Azara, Quad, du Paraguay. 
Didelphis Virginiana, Shaw's Zool., vol. i., p. 73. 
Marsupiall Americanum, Tyson, in Phil. Trans., No. 239, p. 105. 
Cowper, bid., No. 290, p. 1565. 
Opossum, Catesby's Carolina, p. 120, fig. e. 

" Barton's Facts, Observations and Conjectures relative to the gene 
ration of the Opossum of N. Am., London, 1809 and 1813. 
Possum, Lawson's Carolina, p. 120, fig. e. 
D. Virginianus, Harlan, Fauna, p. 119. 

" Godman, vol. ii., p. 7, fig. 

Virg. Opossum, Griffith, vol. iii., p. 24. 

Dekay, Nat. Hist. N. Y., p. 3, fig. 2, pi. 15. 
Opossum, Notes on the generation of the Virginian Opossum, (Didelphis Virginiana,) 
J. Bachman, D. D., Transactions of the Acad, of Nat. Sciences, April, 
1848, p. 40. 
Letter from M. Michel, M. D., on the same subject, Trans. Acad. Nat. 
Sciences, April, 1848, p. 46. 


Body, stout and clumsy ; head, long and conical ; snout, pointed : the 
nostrils at the extremity of the long muzzle open on the sides of a protru- 
berant naked and glandulous surface. Ears, large, thin, and membra- 
neous ; mouth, wide, and borders rounded ; jaws, weak ; eyes, placed high 
on the forehead, small, and without external lids, oblique ; moustaches, on 
the sides of the face, and a few over the eye, strong and rigid. The 
tongue is covered with rough papillae. Nails, of moderate length, curved ; 
inner toe on the posterior extremities destitute of a nail and opposable to 
the other toes, thus forming a kind of hand. Tail, (which may be con- 
sidered a useful appendage to the legs in aiding the motions of the ani- 
mal), prehensile and very strong, but capable of involution only on the 
under side, long, round, and scaly, covered with a few coarse hairs for a 
few inches from the base, the remainder with here and there a hair scat- 
tered between. Soles of the hind feet, covered with large tubercles. The 
female is furnished with a pouch containing thirteen mammas arranged 
in a circle, with one in the centre. 

The fur is of two kinds, a soft woolly hair beneath, covered by much 
longer hairs, which are, however, not sufficiently dense to conceal the un- 
der coat. The woolly hair is of considerable iength and fineness, especi- 
ally in winter. 



The woolly hair on the upper surface of the body, when blown aside, is 
white at the base and black at the tips; the Ions interspersed hairs are 
mostly white ; a few towards the points exhibit shades of dark brown and 
black ; moustaches, white, and black ; eyes, black ; ears, black, at base, 
the borders edged with white to near the extremities, where they are 
broadly patched with white ; snout and toes, flesh coloured ; face, neck, 
and nails, yellowish white ; a line of dark brown commences on the fore- 
head, widens on the head, and extends to the shoulders — there is also a 
line of dark brown under the chest ; the feet in most specimens are brown- 
ish black ; we have seen an occasional one where they were reddish 
brown ; tail, brown. 

The young differ somewhat in colour from the old : they are uniform- 
ly lighter in colour, the head being quite white, with a very distinct black 
dorsal line commencing faintly on the hind head, and running down the 
back to near the rump. 



A well grown female : 

From point of nose to root of tail, - - - - 15^ 

Length of tail, -------- lg 

Height of ear, ----...- lj. 

Breadth of ear, - 1£ 

Orifice of the distended pouch in diameter, - - 15£ 
Teats measured immediately after the young had been 

withdrawn, --.-.--- i 
Weight, 12lbs. 
Young, ten days old, nostrils open, ears pretty well developed : 

Length of head and body, 1+ 

Tail, , $ 

Weight, 22 grains. 

in our first volume (pp. Ill, 112) we have spoken of the curiosity ea- 
gerly indulged, and the sensations excited, in the minds of the discoverers 
of our country, on seeing the strange animals that they met with. Travel- 
lers in unexplored regions are likely to find many unheard-of objects in 
nature that awaken in their minds feelings of wonder and admiration. 
We can imagine to ourselves the surprise with which the Opossum was 


regarded by Europeans when they first saw it. Scarcely any tiling was 
known of the marsupial animals, as New Holland had not as yet opened 
its unrivalled stores of singularities to astonish the world. Here was a 
strange animal, with the head and ears of the pig, sometimes hanging on 
the limb of a tree, and occasionally swinging like the monkey by the tail ! 
Around that prehensile appendage a dozen sharp-nosed, sleek-headed 
young, had entwined their own tails, and were sitting on the mother's 
back ! The astonished traveller approaches this extraordinary compound 
of an animal and touches it cautiously with a stick. Instantly it seems to 
be struck with some mortal disease : its eyes close, it falls to the ground, 
ceases to move, and appears to be dead ! He turns it on its back, and 
perceives on its stomach a strange apparently artificial opening. He 
puts his fingers into the extraordinary pocket, and lo ! another brood of a 
dozen or more young, scarcely larger than a pea, are hanging in clusters on 
the teats. In pulling the creature about, in great amazement, he suddenly 
receives a gripe on the hand — the twinkling of the half-closed eye and the 
breathing of the creature, evince that it is not dead, and he adds a new 
term to the vocabulary of his language, that of" playing 'possum." 

Like the great majority of predacious animals, the Opossum is nocturnal 
in its habits. It suits its nightly wanderings to the particular state of the 
weather. On a bright starlight or moonlight night, in autumn or winter, 
when the weather is warm and the air calm, the Opossum may every 
where be found in the Southern States, prowling around the outskirts of 
the plantation, in old deserted rice fields, along water courses, and on the 
edges of low grounds and swamps ; but if the night should prove windy or 
very cold, the best nosed dog can scarcely strike a trail, and in such cases 
the hunt for that night is soon abandoned. 

The gait of the Opossum is slow, rather heavy, and awkward ; it is not a 
trot like that of the fox, but an amble or pace, moving the two legs on one 
side at a time. Its walk on the ground is plantigrade, resting the whole 
heel on the earth. When pursued, it by no means stops at once and 
feigns death, as has often been supposed, but goes forward at a rather 
slow speed, it is true, but as fast as it is able, never, that we are aware 
of, increasing it to a leap or canter, but striving to avoid its pursuers by 
sneaking off" to some thicket or briar patch ; when, however, it discovers 
I hat the dog is in close pursuit, it flies for safety to the nearest tree, usu- 
ally a sapling, and unless molested does not ascend to the top, but seeks 
an easy resting place in some crotch not twenty feet from the ground, 
where it waits silently and immoveably, till the dog, finding that his 
master will not come to his aid, and becoming weary of barking at the 
foot of the tree, leaves the Opossum to follow the bent of his incli- 


nations, and conclude his nightly round in search ol food. Although a 
slow traveller, the Opossum, by keeping perseveringly on foot during 
the greater part of the night, hunts over much ground, and has been 
known to make a circle of a mile or two in one night. Its ranges, how- 
ever, appear to he restricted or extended according to its necessities, as 
when it, has taken up its residence near a corn field, or a clump of ripe 
persimmon trees, (DiosperosVirginiana,) the wants of nature are soon sat- 
isfied, and it early and slowly carries its fat and heavy body to its quiet 
home, to spend the remainder of the night and the succeeding day in the 
enjoyment of a quiet rest and sleep. 

The whole structure of the Opossum is admirably adapted to the 
wants of a slavish animal. It possesses strong powers of smell, which 
aid it in its search after food ; its mouth is capacious, and its jaws pos- 
sessing a greater number and variety of teeth than any other of our 
animals, evidencing its omnivorous habits; its fore-paws, although not 
armed with retractile claws, aid in seizing its prey and conveying it 
to the mouth. The construction of the hind-foot with its soft yielding 
tubercles on the palms and its long nailless opposing thumb, enable it 
to use these feet as hands, and the prehensile tail aids it in holding on to 
the. limbs of trees whilst its body is swinging in the air; in this manner 
we have observed it gathering persimmons with its mouth and fore-paws, 
and devouring them whilst its head was downwards and its body suspen- 
ded in the air, holding on sometimes with its hind-feet and tail, but often 
by the tail alone. 

We have observed in this species a habit which is not uncommon 
anion?; a few other species of quadrupeds, as we have seen it in the rac- 
coon and occasionally in the common house dog — that of lying on its back 
for hours in the sun, being apparently dozing, and seeming to enjoy this 
position as a change. Its usual posture, however, when asleep, is either 
lying at full length on the side, or sitting doubled up with its head under 
its fore-legs, and its nose touching thp stomach, in the manner of the 

The Opossum cannot, be called a gregarious animal. During summer, 
a brood composing a large family may be found together, but when the 
young are well grown, they usually separate, and each individual shifts 
for himself ; we have seldom found two together in the same retreat in 
autumn or winter. 

Although not often seen abroad in very cold weather in winter, this ani- 
mal is far from (ailing into that state of torpidity to which the marmots, 
jumping mice, and several other species of quadrupeds are subject. In the 
Southern Slates, there are not many (dear nights of starlight or moonshine 


in which they may not be found roaming about ; and although in their far- 
thest northern range they are seldom seen when the ground is covered with 
snow, yet we recollect having come upon the track of one in snow a foot 
deep, in the month of March, in Pennsylvania ; we pursued it, and captured 
the Opossum in its retreat — -a hollow tree. It may be remarked, that ani- 
mals like the Opossum, raccoon, skunk, &c, that become very fat in autumn 
require but little food to support them through the winter, particularly 
when the weather is cold. 

The Opossum, although nocturnal in its general habits, is not unfrequent- 
ly, particularly in spring and summer, found moving about by day. We 
have on several occasions met with it in the woods at mid-day, in places 
where it was seldom molested. 

Nature has wisely provided this species with teeth and organs indi- 
cating its omnivorous character and its possessing an appetite for nearly 
all kinds of food ; and in this particular it exhibits many of the pro- 
pensities and tastes of the raccoon. It enters the corn fields (maize), crawls 
up the stalks, and sometimes breaks them down in the manner of the rac- 
coon, to feed on the young and tender grains ; it picks up chesnuts, acorns, 
chinquapins and beach nuts, and munches them in the manner of the bear. 
We have, on dissection, ascertained that it had devoured blackberries, 
whortleberries, and wild cherries, and its resort to the persimmon tree is pro- 
verbial. It is also insectivorous, and is seen scratching up the leaves in 
search of worms, and the larvae of insects, of which it is very fond. In 
early spring it lays the vegetable kingdom under contribution for its 
support, and we have observed it digging up the roots of the small atama- 
masco lily, (Zepherina. atamasco,) and the young and tender shoots of the 
China brier, (Smilax rotundifolia,) as they shoot out of the ground like as- 
paragus. It is moreover decidedly carnivorous, eating young birds that 
it may detect on the ground, sucking the eggs in all the partridge, towhee- 
bunting and other nests, it can find in its persevering search. It destroys 
mice and other rodentia, and devours whole broods of young rabbits, 
scratching about the nest and scattering the hair and other materials of 
which it was composed. We have observed it squatting in the grass and 
brier thickets in Carolina, which are the common resort of the very abun- 
dant cotton rat, (Sigmodon hispidum,) and from patches of skin and other 
mutilated remains, we satisfied ourselves that the Opossum was one among 
many other species designed by Providence to keep in check the too rap- 
id increase of these troublesome rats. We must admit that it sometimes 
makes a sly visit to the poultry house, killing a few of the hens and 
playing havoc among the eggs. The annoyances of the farmer, however, 
from this mischievous propensity, are not as great as those sustained from 


some of the other species, and cannot for a moment he compared with the 
destruction caused by the weasel, the mink, or the skunk. 

The domicile of the Opossum in which it is concealed during the day, 
and where it brings forth its young, which we have often examined, 
is found in various localities. This animal is a tolerable digger, although 
far less expert in this quality than the Maryland marmot, its den is 
usually under the roots of trees or stumps, when the ground is so ele- 
vated as to secure it from rains and inundations. The hollow of a large 
fallen tree, or an opening at the roots of a standing one, also serve as 
a convenient place for its nest. The material which we have usually 
found composing this nest along the seaboard of Carolina is the long 
moss (Tillandsia wmoides) ; although we have sometimes found it com- 
posed of a bushel or more of oak and other leaves. 

On firing into a squirrel's nest which was situated in the fork of a tree some 
forty feet from the ground, we brought down an Opossum, which had evi- 
dently expelled its legitimate occupant. The Florida rat is known to collect 
heaps of sticks and leaves, and construct nests sometimes a yard in diame- 
ter and two feet high : these are usually placed on Ihe ground, but very 
frequently on the entangled vines of the grape, smilax, and supplejack, 
(Zi-.i/i/ius volubilis.) In these nests an Opossum may occasionally be found, 
dozing as cozily as if he had a better right than that of mere possession. 

Hunting the Opossum is a very favourite amusement among domestics 
and field labourers on our Southern plantations, of lads broke loose from 
school in the holidays, and even of gentlemen, who are sometimes more 
fund of this sport than of the less profitable and more dangerous and fa- 
tiguing one of hunting the gray fox by moonlight. Although we have 
never participated in an Opossum hunt, yet. we have observed that it af- 
forded much amusement to the sable group that in the majority of instan- 
ces make up the hunting party, and we have on two or three occasions 
been the silent and gratified observers of the preparations that were going 
on, the anticipations indulged in, and the excitement apparent around us. 

On a bright autumnal day, when the abundant rice crop has yielded to 
the sickle, and the maize has just been gathered in, when one or two 
slight white frosts have, tinged the fields and woods with a yellowish hue. 
ripened the persimmon, and caused the acorns, chesnuts and chinqucpins 
(Castanea pumilla) to rattle down from the trees and strewed them over the 
ground, we hear arrangements entered into for the hunt. The Opossums 
have been living on the delicacies of the season, and are now in fine order, 
and some are found excessively fat ; a double enjoyment is anticipated, 
the fun of catching and the pleasure of eating this excellent substitute for 
roast pig 

VOL. II. — 15. 



" Come, men," says one, " be lively, let us finish our tasks by four o'clock, 
and after sundown we will have a 'possum hunt." " Done," says another, 
" and if an old coon comes in the way of my smart dog, Pincher, I be bound 
for it, he will shake de life out of him." The labourers work with in- 
creased alacrity, their faces are brightened with anticipated enjoyment, 
and ever and anon the old familiar song of " 'Possum up the gum tree " 
is hummed, whilst the black driver can scarcely restrain the whole gang 
from breaking out into a loud chorus. 

The paraphernalia belonging to this hunt are neither showy nor expen- 
sive. There are no horses caparisoned with elegant trappings — no costly 
guns imported to order — no pack of hounds answering to the echoing 
horn ; two or three curs, half hound or terriers, each having his appropri- 
ate name, and each regarded by his owner as the best dog on the plantation, 
are whistled up. They obey the call with alacrity, and their looks and intel- 
ligent actions give evidence that they too are well aware of the pleasure 
that awaits them. One of these humble rustic sportsmen shoulders an 
axe and another a torch, and the whole arrangement for the hunt is com- 
pleted. The glaring torch-light is soon seen dispersing the shadows 
of the forest, and like a jack o'lantern, gleaming along the skirts of the 
distant meadows and copses. Here are no old trails on which the cold- 
nosed hound tries his nose for half an hour to catch the scent. The tongues 
of the curs are by no means silent — ever and anon there is a sudden start 
and an uproarious outbreak : " A rabbit in a hollow, wait, boys, till I twist 
him out with a hickory." The rabbit is secured and tied with a string 
around the neck : another start, and the pack runs off for a quarter of a mile, 
at a rapid rate, then double around the cotton fields and among the ponds 
in the pine lands — " Call off your worthless dog, Jim, my Pincher has too 
much sense to bother after a fox." A loud scream and a whistle brings the 
pack to a halt, and presently they come panting to the call of the black 
huntsman. After some scolding and threatening, and resting a quarter of 
an hour to recover their breath and scent, they are once more hied for- 
wards. Soon a trusty old dog, by an occasional shrill yelp, gives evidence 
that he has struck some trail in the swamp. The pack gradually make 
out the scent on the edges of the pond, and marshes of the rice fields, 
grown up with willows and myrtle bushes (Myrica cerifera). At length the 
mingled notes of shrill and discordant tongues give evidence that the 
game is up. The race, though rapid, is a long one, through the deep swamp, 
crossing the muddy branch into the pine lands, where the dogs come to a 
halt, unite in conclave, and set up an incessant barking at the foot of a 
pine. "A coon, a coon ! din't I tell you," says Monday, " that if Pincher come 
across a coon, he would do he work ?" An additional piece of split light- 


wood is added to the torch, and the coon is seen doubled up in the form of 
a hornet's nest in the very top of the long-leaved pine. (/'. pains tris). 
The tree is without a branch for forty feet or upwards, and it is at 
cine decided that it must be cut down : the axe is soon at work, and the 
free felled. The glorious battle that ensues, the prowess of the dogs, and 
(he capture of the coon, follow as a matter of course. Sec our article on 
the raccoon, pp. HO, 81, where we have briefly described such a scene. 

Another trail is soon struck, and the dogs all open upon it at once : in 
an instant they rush, pell mell. with a loud burst of mingled tongues, upon 
some animal along the ed^e of an old field destitute of trees. It 
proves Id be an Opossum, detected in its nightly prowling expedi- 
1 ion. At lirst. it feigns death, and, rolling itself into a ball, lies still 
on I he ground ; but the dogs are up to this "'possum playing," and seize 
upon it at once. It now feels that they are in earnest, and are not 
to he deceived. It utters a low growl or two, shows no fight, opens 
wide its large mouth, and, with few struggles, surrenders itself to its 
fate. But our hunters are not yet satisfied, either with the sport or the 
meat : they have large families and a host of friends on the plantation, the 
game is abundant, and the labour in procuring it not fatiguing, so they 
once more hie on the dogs. The Opossum, by its slow gait and heavy 
tread, leaves its foot-prints and scent behind it on the soft mud and damp 
$:rass. Another is soon started, and hastens up the first small gum, oak, 
or persimmon tree, within its reach ; it has clambered up to the highest. 
limb, and sits crouching up with eyes closed to avoid the light. "Off jacket, 
Jim, and shake him down ; show that you know more about 'possum than 
your good-for-nutten fox-dog." As the fellow ascends, the animal continues 
mounting higher to get beyond his reach; still he continues in pursuit, 
until the affrighted Opossum has reached the farthest twig on the extreme 
branches of the tree. The negro now commences shaking the tall pliant 
tree top ; while with its hind hands rendered convenient and flexible by its 
opposing thumb, and with its prehensile tail, the Opossum holds on with 
great tenacity. But it cannot long resist the rapidly accumulating jerks 
and shocks : suddenly the feet slip from the smooth tiny limb, and it hangs 
suspended lor a lew moments only by its tail, in the meantime trying to 
regain its hold With its hind hands ; but another sudden jerk breaks the 
twig, and down comes the poor animal, doubled up like a ball, into 
the opened jaws of eager and relentless canine foes; the poor creature 
drops, and yields to fate without a Struggle. 

In this manner half a dozen or more Opossums are sometimes captured 
before midnight. The subsequent boasts about the superior noses, speed 
and courage of the several doy;s that composed this small motley pack — 


the fat feast that succeeded on the following evening, prolonged beyond 
the hour of midnight, the boisterous laugh and the merry song, we leave 
to be detailed by others, although we confess we have not been uninter- 
ested spectators of such scenes.- 

" Let not ambition mock their useful toil, 
" Their homely joys and destiny obscure, 
" Nor grandeur hear with a disdainful smile, 
" The simple pleasures of the humble poor." 

The habit of feigning death to deceive an enemy is common to several 
species of quadrupeds, and we on several occasions witnessed it in our com- 
mon red fox (V. Fulvus). But it is more strikingly exhibited in the Opos- 
sum than in any other animal with which we are acquainted. When it 
is shaken from a tree and falls among grass and shubbery, or when detect- 
ed in such situations, it doubles itself into a heap and feigns death so 
artfully, that we have known some schoolboys carrying home for a quarter 
of a mile an individual of this species, stating that when they first saw it, 
it was running on the ground, and they could not tell what had killed it. 
We would not, however, advise that the hand should on such occasions be 
suffered to come too familiarly in contact with the mouth, lest the too 
curious meddler should on a sudden be startled with an unexpected and 
unwelcome gripe. 

This species has scarcely any T note of recognition, and is remarkably 
silent ; when molested, it utters a low growl ; at other times its voice re- 
sembles the hissing of a cat. The Opossum displays no cunning in 
avoiding traps set to capture it, entering almost any kind of trap, very 
commonly being taken in a log trap called a dead fall. 

From its very prolific nature it can afford to have many enemies. In 
addition to the incessant war waged against it by r men and dogs, we have 
ascertained that its chief enemy among rapacious birds is the Virginian 
owl, (Strix Virginiana,) which flying abroad at the same hour in which the 
Opossum is on foot, pounces on it, and kills it with great ease. We have 
heard of an instance in which it was seen in the talons of the white-headed 
eagle, {Halietus leucoccphalus,) and of two or three in which the great hen- 
hawk (F. Boreahs) was observed feeding upon it. We recollect no instance 
of its having been killed by the wild cat or the fox. The wolf, it. is said, 
seizes on every Opossum it can find, and we have heard of two instances 
where half-grown animals of this species were found to have been 
swallowed by the rattlesnake. 

Although the dog hunts it so eagerly, yet we have never been able to 
ascertain that it ever feeds upon its flesh ; indeed, we have witnessed the 


dog passing by the body of a fresh lulled Opossum, and going off half a 
mile farther to feed on some offensive carcase. 

The Opossum is easily domes: iealed when captured young. We have. 
in endeavouring to investigate oneofthe very extraordinary characteristics 
of this species, preserved a considerable number in confinement, and our 
experiments were continued through a succession of years. Their nocturnal 
habits were iii a considerable decree relinquished, and they followed the 
servants about the premises, becoming troublesome by their familiarity 
and their mischievous habits. They associated familiarly with a do<* on 
the premises, which seemed to regard them as necessary appendages 
of the motley group that constituted the family of brutes in the yard. 
They devoured all kinds of food : vegetables, boiled rice, hominy, meat both 
raw and boiled, and the scraps thrown from the kitchen ; giving the pre- 
ference to those that contained any fatty substance. 

On one occasion a brood of young with their mother made their escape, 
concealed themselves under a stable, and became partially wild ; they 
were in the habit of coming out at night, and eating scraps of food, but we 
never discovered that they committed any depredations on the poultry or 
pigeons. They appeared however to have effectually driven oil' the rats, 
as during the whole, time they were occupants of the stable, we did not 
observe a single rat on the premises. It was ascertained that they 
were in the habit of clambering over fences and visiting the neighbouring 
lots and gardens, anil we occasionally found that we had repurchased one 
of our own vagrant animals. They usually, however, returned towards 
daylight to their snug retreat, and we believe would have continued in 
the neighbourhood and multiplied the species had they no! in tbeimightly 
prowlings been detected and destroyed by the neiu'libouritr* do^s. 

A ma>: interesting part of the history of this animal, which has lei to the 
adoption of many vulgar errors, remains to be considered, viz., the gene- 
ration "f the Opossum. 

( lur investigations on this subject were commenced in early life, and 
resumed as time and opportunity were afforded, at irregular, and some- 
times after long intervals, and were not satisfactorily concluded until with- 
in a month of the period of our writing this article, (June, 1849). The 
process by which we were enabled to obtain the facts and arrive at our 
conclusions is detailed in an article published in the. Transactions of the 
Academy of Natural Sciences, April, 1848, p. 40. Subsequent investiga- 
tions have enabled us to verify some of these facts, to remove some obscu- 
rities in which the subject was yet involved, and finally to be prepared to 
give a correct and detailed history of a peculiarity in the natural history 
of this qnadruped, around which there has hitherto been thrown a cloud 
of mvsterv and doubt. 


Our early authors — Marcgrave, Pison, Valentine, Beverly, the Mar- 
quis of Chastellux, Pennant, and others, contended that " the pouch was 
the matrix of the young Opossum, and that the mammae are, with regard 
to the young, what stalks are to their fruits." De Blainville and Dr. 
Barton speak of two sorts of gestation, one uterine and the other mam- 
mary. Blumenbach calls the young when they are first seen on the 
mamma?, abortions ; and Dr. Barton's views (we quote from Griffith) 
are surprisingly inaccurate : " The Didelphes," he says, " put forth, not 
foetuses but gelatinous bodies ; they weigh at their first appearance gener- 
ally about a grain, some a little more, and seven of them together weigh- 
ed ten grains." In 1819, Geoffroy St. Hillaire propounded to naturalists 
the following question : " Are the pouched animals born attached to 
the teats of the mother ? " Godman, in his American Natural History, 
published in 1826, gave to the world a very interesting article on the 
Opossum, full of information in respect to the habits, &c, comprising all 
the knowledge that existed at that day in regard to this species. He was 
obliged, however, to admit, vol. 2, p. 7, " the peculiarities of its sexual in- 
tercourse, gestation, and parturition, are to this day involved in profound 
obscurity. Volumes of facts and conjectures have been written on the 
subject, in which the proportion of conjecture to fact has been as a thou- 
sand to one, and the difficulties still remain to be surmounted." And De- 
kay, in the work on the Quadrupeds of the State of N. York, (Nat. Hist, of 
N.York, 1842, p. 4,) states : "The young are found in the external abdomi- 
nal sac, firmly attached to the teat in the form of a small gelatinous body, not 
weighing more than a grain. It was along time believed that there existed a 
direct passage from the uterus to the teat, but this has been disproved 
by dissection. Another opinion is, that the embryo is excluded from the 
uterus in the usual manner and placed by the mother to the teat ; and a 
third, that the embryo is formed where it is first found. Whether this 
transfer actually takes place, and if so, the physiological considerations 
connected with it, still remain involved in great obscurity." 

The approaches to truth in these investigations have been very grad- 
ual, and the whole unusually slow. Cowper, Tyson, De Blainville, Home 
and others, by their examinations and descriptions of the organs of the 
Marsupialiae, prepared the way for farther developments. A more judi- 
cious examination and scientific description by Owen and others, of the 
corresponding organs in the kangaroo, the largest of all the species com- 
posing these genera, and the discovery of the fetus in utero, enabled natu- 
ralists to conclude, that the similar structure in the Opossum would 
indicate a corresponding result. No one, however, was entitled to speak 
with positive certainty until the young were actually detected in the 


uterus, nor could an explanation of the peculiarity in the growth of the 

fetus be made until it was examined in its original bed. 

We have been so fortunate in five instances as to have procured speci- 
mens in which the young were observed in this position, and therefore, 
feci prepared to speak with certainty. We are not aware that the young 
of the Virginian Opossum had been previously detected in the uterus. 

All our investigations were made in South Carolina, where this is a 
very abundant species. For some years we attempted to arrive at the object 
of our researches by preserving these animals in a state of confinement. But 
they were subject to many accidents : they frequently made their escape 
from their cages, and some of them became overburdened with fat and 
proved sterile, so that we did not succeed in a single instance in obtain- 
ing young from females in a state of confinement. From (his cause the 
naturalists of Europe, and especially those of France, who were desi- 
rous of making investigations in regard to our Opossum, have been so 
long unsuccessful. Their usual complaint has been, "Your Opossums do 
not breed in confinement." In this. Dr. Barton and our young friend Dr. 
Michel were more fortunate, but in both cases the young were produced 
before they were enabled to detect them in their previous existing posi- 
tion. We varied our experiments by endeavouring to discern the precise 
period when young were usually produced. We ascertained, by having a 
number of females procured with young in their pouches, that about the 
close of the first week in March, a little earlier or later, according to lin- 
age of the individual, or warmth, or coldness, of the previous winter, 
was the time when in this latitude this event usually occurs. Here, how- 
ever, another difficulty presented itself, which for several successive sea- 
sons, thwarted us in our investigations. In the third week of Februarj 
1847, by offering premiums to the servants on several neighbouring plan- 
tations we obtained in three nights thirty-five Opossums, but of that 
number there was not a single female. A week afterwards, however, 
when the young were contained in the pouch, we received more females 
than males. From this circumstance we came to the conclusion that 
during the short period of gestation, the females, like those of some other 
species of quadrupeds, particularly the American black bear, conceal 
themselves in their burrows and can seldom be found. We then changed 
our instructions for capturing them, by recommending that they should 
be searched for in the day time, in hollow logs and trees and places where 
they had been previously known to burrow. By this means we were en- 
abled at different, times to obtain a small number in the state in which 
we were desirous of examining them. We feel under sjreat obligations 
to several gentlemen of Carolina for aiding us in our investigations by 


procuring specimens, especially our relative Colonel Haskell, Mr. Johnson, 
and James Fisher, Esq., a close observer and intelligent naturalist. The 
latter, by his persevering efforts, pursued for some years at, Jordan's 
Mills, on the upper waters of the Edisto, obtained two females in May, 
1849, in the particular state in which he knew we were anxious to procure 
■ hem, and brought them to us without having been previously aware that 
we had published the facts a year before. 

The Opossums we were enabled to examine were dissected on the 11th, 
1 1th and 18th February, 1848, and on the 12th and 22d May, 1849. Some 
of these had advanced to near the time of parturition. The young of those 
brought us by Mr. Fisher each weighed 21 grains. Those of one, sent 
us by Col. Haskell, weighed 3 grains ; and the young of another which we 
obtained by a Caesarian operation, at a moment when all the rest had 
been excluded, and this individual alone remained, weighed 4 grains. 

We remarked, that this however was a little the largest of six that 
composed the family, five of which were already in the pouch and attached 
to the teats. The largest one weighed 3f, and another 3£ grains. 
The weight, then, of the young Opossum at the moment of birth, is between 
3 and 4 grains, varying a little in different specimens as is the case in 
the young of all animals. 

The degree of life and animation in young Opossums at the mo- 
ment of birth has been greatly underrated. They are neither abortions, 
as Blumenbach represented them, nor as Dr. Barton has described them — 
" not fetuses, but gelatinous bodies, weighing about a grain more or less, 
seven of them together weighing 10 grains" — but little creatures that are 
nearly as well developed at birth as the young of the white-footed mouse 
and several other species of rodentia. They are covered by an integument, 
nourished by the mammae, breathe through nostrils, perform the operations of 
nature, are capable of a progressive movement at the moment of their birth, 
and are remarkably tenacious of life. The individual which was dissected 
from the parent in the manner above detailed, moved several inches on the 
table by crawling and rolling, and survived two hours ; the thermometer in 
the room was at the time standing at 66° Fahrenheit. The period of gesta- 
tion is from fifteen to sixteen days. We received a female from a servant 
who informed us, that he had that morning seen it in intercourse with 
the male. We first saw the young on the morning of the 17th day. Our 
friend Dr. Middleton Michel, a gentleman of high scientific attainments, 
and who had long been engaged in investigating the characters and habits 
of this species, in a communication made to us, (Trans, of the Acad. Nat. 
Sciences, April, 1848, p. 46,) assured us from his personal observation in 
which he was careful to note the hour of the day, the exact period is 


15 days. As he possessed better opportunities of deciding in regard to the 
time, the animals being in a state of domestication, we, are rather more 
disposed to yield to his observations than to our own ; there is, however, 
only the difference of a day between us. 

The young, when first born, are naked and flesh-coloured ; the eyes, to- 
gether with the ears, are covered by a thin integument through which these 
organs and the protuberances of the ears are distinctly visible. The mouth 
is closed, with the exception of a small orifice, sufficiently large to recei\ e 
the teat, which is so thin and attenuated that it seems no larger than the 
body of a pin. Length of body, 7-12ths of an inch; of tail, 2-10ths. 
The nails, which can be seen with the naked eye, are very distinct when 
viewed with a microscope, and are of a dark brown colour, small and 
mi, eh hooked. The nostrils are open ; the, lungs filled with air, and 
when placed in water, the young float on the surface. 

The uumber of young usually found in the pouch appear to be less 
'han those that are born. The highest number we have found in the pouch 
was thirteen, the smallest six ; whereas the preserved uterus brought to us 
by Mr. Fisher, contained fifteen. In all such cases, where a greater num- 
ber of young are produced than there are teats, the last of the brood 
must inevitably perish, as those that are attached appear incapable of 
relinquishing their hold. 

The manner in which the young at birth reach the pouch, and become 
attached to the teats, has been the subject of much speculation and in- 
quiry. We had an opportunity of examining this process in part, without, 
however, having been aware at the, time, that it was going on. We 
intended to dissect a small female Opossum, which had been a few days 
in our possession, but ascertained in the morning at seven o'clock on the 
day our examination was to have been made, that she had three young 
in her pouch ; supposing from her small size, that she would produce no 
additional number, we concluded to spare her life. She was confined in a 
box in our study ; when we occasionally looked at her, we found her ly- 
ing on one side, her shoulders elevated, her body drawn up in the shape 
of a ball; the pouch was occasionally distended with her paws — in this 
position the parts reached the edge of the pouch; she was busily em- 
ployed with her nose and mouth licking, as we thought, her pouch, but in 
which we afterwards ascertained, were her young. 

At six o'clock in the afternoon we were induced to examine her again, 
in consequence of having observed that she had for several hours appear- 
ed very restless, when we discovered thai she had added four more to her 
previous number, making her young family now to consist of seven. With no 
inconsiderable labour and the exercise of much patience, we removed 
VOL. II. — 16. 


three of the young from the teats, one of which perished under the pro- 
cess, we replaced the two living ones in the pouch ; at nine o'clock ex- 
amined her again and found both the young once more attached. We 
came to the conclusion, that she shoved them into the pouch, and 
with her nose or tongue moved them to the vicinity of the teats, 
where by an instinct of nature, the teat was drawn into the small orifice of 
the mouth by suction. We observed subsequently, that a young one that 
had been extracted from its parent a few moments before the time when 
it would have been born, and which had been rolled up in warm cotton, 
was instinctively engaged in sucking at the fibres of the cotton, and had 
succeeded in drawing into its mouth a considerable length of thread. A 
nearly similar process was observed by our friend Dr. Michel. He 
states : "The female stood on her hind legs, and the body being much 
bent, the young appeared and were licked into the pouch." 

There is a great difficulty in deciding the question, whether the mother 
aids the young in finding the teats, in consequence of the impossibility of 
the spectators being able to know what she is actually doing, whilst her 
nose is in the pouch. We believe the majority of naturalists who had an 
opportunity of witnessing our experiments came to the conclusion, that the 
mother, after shoving them into the pouch, left them to their own instinct, 
and they became attached without her assistance. We tried another ex- 
periment that suggested itself to us. Believing that the mother would 
not readily adopt the young of another, or afford them any assistance, we 
removed six out often that composed her brood, returned two of her own 
to the pouch, together with three others fully double the size, that had been 
obtained from another female. She was soon observed doubled up with 
her nose in the pouch, and continued so for an hour, when she was exam- 
ined and one of her own small ones was found attached to the teat. 
Seven hours afterwards she was examined again, and both the small ones 
were attached, but the three larger ones still remained crawling about 
the pouch. On the following morning, it was ascertained that the mother 
had adopted the strangers, as the whole family of different sizes were 
deriving sustenance from her. 

On another occasion, a female Opossum had been sent to us caught by 
a dog and much wounded, in consequence of which she died a few days 
afterwards, but first producing seven young which to every appearance 
had been still born. Yet they were in the pouch, and it appeared to us 
that the mother's uncontrollable attachment to her young, induced her 
to place her offspring in the pouch, even after they were dead. 

An interesting inquiry remains to be answered : Is the Opossum a 
placental or non-placentai animal ? Until we were favoured with a 
recent opportunity of carefully examining a uterus, containing nine 


young on one side, and six on the other, kindly brought to us by our 
friend James Fisiikr, we were unable fully to answer this question. 
Our dissections and examinations were witnessed by Professors Mon.- 
trip, Hume, Drs.; Michel, Porcher and others. 

The Opossum is, as far as we are aide to judge from the specimens 
examined, a non-plaeental animal, inasmuch as there could not be de- 
tected the slightest adhesion between the exterior membrane of the fe- 
tus and the internal surface, of the mother. The membranes consisted of 
a vitelline sac, filled with ramifications of omphalo-mesenteric vessels, 
there was a slight appearance of an umbilical cord and umbilical ves- 
sels, constituting a true allantois, but no portions of them were attached to 
the uterus. There was no appearance of a placenta. 

The growth of the young Opossum is suprisingly rapid. We weighed 
the largest young one at a week old and found it had increased from 3| 
grains to 3D grains. Length of head and body exclusive of tail, If inch ; 
tail. | inch. The young at this age were very tenacious of life, as on re- 
movingtwo, they remained alive on the tloor withoul any covering through 
a cool niprlit. in a room containing no lire, and still exhibited a slight 
motion at twelve o'clock on the following day. The teats of the mother after 
the young had been gently drawn oil' measured an inch in length, having 
been much distended, and appeared to have been drawn into the stomach of 
the young. The pouches of the young females were quite apparent : they 
used their prehensile tails, which could now be frequently seen entwined 
around the necks of others. At twelve days old the eyes were still closed, 
a lew hairs had made their appearance on the moustache ; theorifice of 
the ears were beginning to be developed, and the nails were quite visible 
and sharp. 

When the young arc four weeks old. they begin from time to time to 
relax their hold on the teats, and may now be seen with their heads occa- 
sionally out of the pouch. A week later, and they venture to steal occa- 
sionally from their snug retreat in the pouch, and are often seen on the 
mother's back securing themselves by entwining their tails around hers. 
In this situation she moves from place to place in search of food, carry- 
ing her whole family along with her. to which she is much attached, and in 
whose defence she exhibits a considerable degree of courage, CTOwliiii: at 
any intruder, and ready to use her teeth with great severity on man or 
dog. In travelling, it is amusing to see this large family moving about. 
Some of the young, nearly the size of rats, have their tails entwined around 
the legs of the mother, and some around her neck, thus they are dragged 
along. They have a mild and innocent look, and arc sleek, and in line 
condition, and this is the only aire in which the word pretty can be ap- 


plied to the Opossum. At this period, the mother, in giving sustenance to 
so large a family, becomes thin, and is reduced to one half of her previous 
weight. The whole family of young remain with her about two months, 
and continue in the vicinity till autumn. In the meantime, a second and 
often a third brood is produced, and thus two or more broods of different 
ages may be seen, sometimes with the mother, and at other times not far 

The Opossum, with the exception of our gray rabbit, is one of the most 
prolific of our quadrupeds. We consider the early parts of the three 
months of March, May and July, as the periods in vSouth Carolina when 
they successively bring forth ; it is even probable that they breed still 
more frequently, as we have observed the young during all the spring 
and summer months. In ihe month of May, 1830, whilst searching for a 
rare species of coleop'era, in removing with our foot some sticks composing 
the nest of the Florida rat, we were startled on finding our boot uncere- 
moniously and rudely seized by an animal which we soon ascertained 
was a female Opossum. She had in her pouch five very small young 
whilst, seven others, about the size of full grown rats were detected peep- 
ing from under the rubbish. The females produce young at a year old. 
The young born in July do not bring forth as early as those born in March, 
but. have their young as soon as the middle of the succeeding May. 
There is, of course, in this as well as in other species, some degree of 
irregularity in the time of their producing, as well as in the number of 
their young. We have reason to believe, also, that this species is more 
prolific in the southern than in the Middle States. 


The Hudson River may be regarded as the farthest eastern limit of the 
Opossum. We have no doubt but that it will in time be found existing to 
the east of the Hudson, in the southern counties of New- York as well as 
on Long- Island and the warmer parts of the Eastern States, as the living 
animals are constantly carried there, and we have little doubt that if it was 
considered important it could be encouraged to multiply there. It has 
been stated to us that in New-Jersey, within five or ten miles of New- York, 
as many as ten or fourteen of these animals have within a few years past 
been taken in an autumn by means of traps, but that their number is gradu- 
ally diminishing. It is common in New- Jersey and Pennsylvania, becom- 
ing more abundant as we proceed southwardly through North Carolina, 
South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas, to Mexico ; inhabiting 
in great numbers the inter-tropical regions. To the west we have traced 


it in all the south-western states. It exists in Indiana, Mississippi, Mis- 
souri, and Arkansas, and extends to the Pacific ; it is said to exist in Cali- 
fornia. It is somewhat singular, that in every part of America, as far as 
we have been able to observe, the geographical range of the Opossum is 
very nearly the same as that of the persimon tree, of whose fruit it is so 
fond. This we regard, however, as merely accidental, as this food is not 
essential to its support. The Opossum neither ceases to multiply or to 
thrive in seasons in which the persimon has failed. 


In our plate, we gave Pennant as the originator of the scientific name 
of this species. We find, however, that he only calls it the Virginia 
Opossum, with a reference to the Didrlp/n/s marsupialis, Linneus. 
subsequently arranged it under Didrfphi/s marsupialis. As Shaw, in 
1800, as far as we have been able to ascertain, seems to have been the 
first who applied the Latin specific name, 7). Vtrginiana, we have, in ac- 
cordance with the rules laid down by naturalists, given him the credit of 
the specific name. 


GENUS CANIS — Linnaeus. 


5 1—1 6— 6 

Incisive — ; Canine — ; Molar — =40. 

6 1—1 6—6 

The three first in the upper jaw, and the four in the lower, trenchant 
but small, and called also false molars. The great carnivorous tooth above 
bi-cuspid, with a small tubercle on the inner side, that below with the 
posterior lobe altogether tubercular, and two tuberculous teeth behind each 
of the great carnivorous teeth. Muzzle, elongate ; tongue, soft ; ears, 
erect, (sometimes pendant in the domestic varieties.) Fore feet, pendacty- 
lous ; hind feet, tetradactylous. Teats, both inguinal and vental. 

CANIS LUPUS.— Linn.— (Var. Atee.) 

Black American Wolf. 
PLATE LXVn. Male. 
C. niger, magnitudine, formaque C. lupi. 


Size and shape of the Common American Wolf ; Canis, lupus occidenta- 
l's ; colour black. 


Loup Noir de Canada, Buffon, vol. ix., p. 364-41. 
Black Wolf, Long's Expd.. vol. i., p, 95. 

" Say, Frankl. Jour., vol. i., p. 172. 

" Griffith, Anim. King., vol. 2., p. 348. 

" Godman, Nat. Hist, vol. i., p. 267. 

Canis Ltacon, Harlan's Fauna, p. 82. 
Var. E. Lupus ater, Black Amer. Wolf, Richardson, Fauna Boreali Amer., p. 70. 









We regard this animal as a mere variety of the Common American 
Wolf, to be hereafter described, and need only here observe, that all 
the Wolves we have examined, such as the Cants nubUis of Sat, the 
White Wolf, the Red Texan Wolf and the Black Wolf, are of the same form, 
although in size the White Wolf is considerably the largest. 


Pace, legs, point of tail and under jaw, black ; body, irregularly and 
transversely barred with blackish In-own and greyish ; sides of the neck, 
greyish brown; behind the shoulders, under the belly and on the forehead, 
greyish brown. Some specimens are darker than others — we have ex- 
amined several that were perfectly black on the whole surface of the body. 


Feet. Inches. 

Length of head and body - - - - 3 2 

Do. of tail vertebrae - - - - 11 

Do. including fur - - - 1 1 

Height of ear - 3 


Nol .in individual of the party saw a Black Wolf during our trip up the 
Missouri, on the prairies near Fort Union, or along the shores of that por- 
tion of the Yellow Stone River that we visited. Mr. Sai speaks of its 
being the most common variety on the banks of the Missouri, but, unfor- 
tunately, does not state precisely where. 

Wolves of this colour were abundant near Henderson, Kentucky, when 
we removed to that place, and we saw them frequently during our rambles 
through the woods after birds. 

We found a Black Wolf in one of our wild turkey pens, early one morn- 
ing, lie observed us, as we approached, but instead of making his escape, 
squatted close down, like a dog which does not wish to be seen. We came 
up within a few yards of the pen, and shot him dead, through an opening 
between the loirs. This Wolf had killed several line turkeys, and was 
in the act of devouring one. which was, doubtless, the reason he did not 
attempt to make his escape when we approached him. 

There is a strong feeling of hostility entertained by the settlers of the 


wild portions of the country, toward the Wolf, as his strength, agility, and 
cunning, (in which last qualification, he is scarcely inferior to his relative, 
llie fox,) tend to render him the most destructive enemy of their pigs, 
sheep, or young calves, which range in the forest ; therefore, in our coun- 
try, he is not more mercifully dealt with than in any other part of the 
world. Traps and snares of various sorts are set for catching him in those 
districts in which he still abounds. Being more fleet and perhaps better 
winded than the fox, the Wolf is seldom pursued with hounds or any 
oilier dogs in open chase, unless wounded. Although Wolves are bold 
and savage, few instances occur in our temperate regions of their making 
an attack on man ; and we have only had one such case come under 
our own notice. Two young negroes, who resided near the banks of the 
Ohio, in the lower part of the State of Kentucky, about thirty years ago, 
had sweethearts living on another plantation, four miles distant. After 
the labours of the day w r ere over, they frequently visited the fair ladies of 
their choice, the nearest way to whose dwelling lay directly across a large 
cane brake. As to the lover every moment is precious, they usually took 
this route to save time. Winter had set in cold, dark and gloomy, and after 
sunset scarcely a glimpse of light or glow of warmth were to be found 
in that dreary swamp, except in the eyes and bosoms of the ardent youths 
who traversed these gloomy solitudes. One night, they set forth over a 
thin crust of snow. Prudent, to a certain degree, the lovers carried their 
axes on their shoulders, and walked as briskly as the narrow path would 
allow. Some transient glimpses of light now and then met their eyes in 
the more open spaces between the trees, or when the heavy drifting clouds 
parting at times allowed a star to peep forth on the desolate scene. Fear- 
fully, a long and frightful howl burst upon them, and they were instantly 
aware that it proceeded from a troop of hungry and perhaps desperate 
wolves. They paused for a moment and a dismal silence succeeded. All 
was dark, save a few feet of the snow-covered ground immediately in front 
of them. They resumed their pace hastily, with their axes in their hands 
prepared for an attack. Suddenly, the foremost man was assailed by 
several wolves which seized on him, and inflicted terrible wounds with 
their fangs on his legs and arms, and as they were followed by many 
others as ravenous as themselves, several sprung at the breast of his 
companion, and dragged him to the ground. Both struggled manfully 
against their foes, but in a short time one of the negroes had ceased to 
move ; and the other, reduced in strength and perhaps despairing of aiding 
his unfortunate comrade or even saving his own life, threw down his axe, 
sprang on to the branch of a tree, and speedily gained a place of safety 
amid the boughs. Here he passed a miserable night, and the next morn- 


ing the hones of bis friend laj scattered around on the snow, which was 
stained with his blood. Three dead wolves lay near, bul the rest of the 
pack had disappeared ; and Scipio sliding to the ground, recovered the axes 
and returned home to relate the terrible catastrophe. 

\U>ut two years after this occurrence, as we were travelling between 
Henderson and Vincennes, we chanced w> slop for the night a1 the house 
of a farmer, (for in those days hotels were scarce in that part of the srood 
Siate of Indiana.) After putting up our horses and refreshing ourself, we en- 
tered into conversation with our worthy host, and were invited by him to 
\i-ii the wolf pits which he had constructed about half a mile from the 
house. Glad of the opportunity, we accompanied him across the Gelds to 
the skirts of the adjoining forest, where he had three pit*- within a few 
hundred yards of each other. They were about eight feet deep, broadest 
at the bottom, so as to render it impossible for the most active animal to 
escape from them. The mouth of each pit was covered with a revolving 

platform of houghs and twigs, interlaced together and attached to a cross 
piece of timber, which served for an axle. <*n this light sort of platform, 
which was balanced by a heavy stick of wood fastened to the under side, 
a large piece of putrid venison was tied for bait. After examining all tin- 
pits, we returned to the house, our companion remarking that he was in the 
habit of visiting his pits daily, in order to sec thai all was right : that the 
Wolves had liccn very had that » ason : had destroyed nearly all his sheep. 
and had killed one ofhis colls. " But," added he. " 1 am now paj ing them oil' 
in full, and if I have any luck, you will see some fan in the morning." With 
this expectation we retired to rest, and were up at day-light. "J think." 
said our host. " that all is right : for I see the dogs are anxious to gel away 
to the pils. and although they are nothing hut curs, their noses are pretty 
keen lor wolves." As he took up his gun and axe and a large knife, the 
dogs began to howl and hark, and whisked around us as if full of delight. 
When we reached the tirsl pil. we found the bait had been disturbed and 
the platform was somewhat injured, hut the animal was not in the pit. i > M 
< camming the second pit. we discover.- I three famous fellows Safe enough 

in it, two black and one brindled, all of good size. They wen- lying Hat on 
the earth, with their ears close down to their heads, their eyes indicating 
liar more than anger. To our astonishment, the farmer proposed des- 
cending into the pit to hamstring mem, in order to haul them up. and then 
allow them to be killed by the dogs, which, he said, would sharpen his curs 
for an encounter with the wolves, should any come near his house m fa. 
Inn-. Being novices in this kind of business, we begged to he lookers on. 
•' With all my heart." cried the farmer. " stand here, and look at me." where- 
upon he glided down, on a knobbed pole, taking his axe and knife with him. 


and leaving his rifle to our care. We were not a little surprised at the 
cowardice of the wolves. The woodman stretched out their hind legs, in 
succession, and with a stroke of the knife cut the principal tendon above 
the joint, exhibiting as little fear, as if he had been marking lambs. As 
soon as he had thus disabled the wolves, he got out, but had to return to the 
house for a rope, which he had not thought of. He returned quickly, and, 
whilst I secured the platform in a perpendicular position on its axis, he made 
a slip knot at one end of the rope, and threw it over the head of one of the 
wolves. We now hauled the terrified animal up ; and motionless with 
fright, half choked, and disabled in its hind legs, the farmer slipped the 
rope from its neck, and left it to the mercy of the dogs, who set upon 
it with great fury and worried it to death. The second was dealt with 
in the same manner ; but the third, which was probably oldest, showed 
some spirit the moment the dogs were set upon it, and scuffled along on 
its forelegs, at a surprising rate, snapping all the while furiously at the 
dogs, several of which it bit severely ; and so well did the desperate animal 
defend itself, that the farmer, apprehensive of its killing some of his pack, 
ran up and knocked it on the head with his axe. This wolf was a female, 
and was blacker than the other dark-coloured one. 

Once, when we were travelling on foot not far from the southern boundary 
of Kentucky, we fell in with a Black Wolf, following a man with a rifle 
on his shoulders. On speaking with him about this animal, he assured us 
that it was as tame and as gentle as any dog, and that he had never met 
with a dog that could trail a deer better. We were so much struck with 
this account and the noble appearance of the wolf, that we offered him one 
hundred dollars for it; but the owner would not part with it for any price. 

Our plate was drawn from a fine specimen, although not so black a one 
as we have seen. We consider the Dusky Wolf and the Black Wolf as iden- 
tically the same. 

As we shall have occasion to refer to the characteristics of Wolves gener- 
ally again, we shall not prolong this article ; the Black, as already stated, 
being, in fact, only a variety. In our account of the Common Gray Wolf of 
the North, and the White Wolf of the Prairies, which last is very common, 
we shall give farther and more specific details of their breeding and other 


All packs of American Wolves usually consist of various shades of colour 
and varieties, nearly black, have occasionally been found in every part of 
the United States. The varieties, with more or less of black, continue to in- 
crease as we proceed farther to the south, and in Florida the prevailing colour 


of the wolves is black. We have seen two or three skins procured in 
N.Carolina. There is a specimen in the Museum of the Philosophical 
Society of Charleston, obtained at (loose Creek, a few years ago, thai is 
several shades darker than the specimen from which our drawing was 
made j and in a gang of seventeen wolves, which existed in Colleton l>is- 

trict, S. C, a few years ago (sixteen of which were killed by the hunters 
in eighteen months), we were informed that about one tilth were black 
and the others of <\ erj shade of colour — from black to dusky grey and yel- 
lowish white. We have heard of this variety in the southern part of 
Missouri. Louisiana, and the northern parts of Texas 



Fox Squirrel. 


S, magnus, colorem variens ; naso auriculisque albis ; pilis crassis ; 
cauda corpore longiore. 


She, large ; tail, longer than the body ; hair, coarse ; ears and nose, 
white ; subject to great variety in colour. 


Sciurus Capistratus ; Bosc, Ann. du Mus., vol. i., p. 281. 

" Vulpinus? Linn. Ed. Gmel., 1788. 

" Niger ; Catesby. 
Black Squirrel ; Bartram's Travels in North America. 
Sciurus Capistratus ; Desm. Mammalogie, p. 332. 

" Variegatus ; Desm. Mammalogie, p. 333. 

" Capistratus; Cuv., Regne Animal, vol. L, p. 139. 
Fox Squirrel, Lawson's Carolina, p. 124. 
Sciurus Capistratus ; Harlan. 
Sciurus Vulpinus ; Godman. 


This is the largest and most interesting species of the genus, found in 
the United States. Although it is subject to great varieties of colour, 
occasioning no little confusion by the creation of several nominal 
species, yet it possesses several striking and uniform markings by which 
it may, through all its varieties, be distinguished at a glance from any 

The Fox Squirrel is furnished with the following teeth, viz : — 

2 00 4—4 

Incisive ; Canine — ; Molar — = 20. 

2 00 4 — 4 

But although we have thus given to this species but four grinders in (he 
upper jaw, which peculiarity applies to nearly all the specimens that may 



• /< t- ■ ',//// / / ( / . 


be examined, — yet, in a very young* animal, obtained on the .">th of April, 
in South Carolina, and which had apparently left the nest but a day or 

two, we observed a very minute, round, deciduous, anterior grinder on each 
side. These teeth, however, must be shed at a very early period : as in 
two other sjn-r i ni.ii>. obtained on the 20th of the same month, they were 
entirely wanting. The teeth of all our squirrels present so great a simi- 
larity, that ii will be (bund impossible to designate the species from these 
alone, without referring to other peculiarities which the eye of the practi- 
cal naturalist max detect. In young animals of this species, the tubercu- 
lous crowns on t lie molars are prominent and acute: these sharp points, 
however, are soon worn off, and the tubercles in the adult are round and 
blunt. The first molar in the upper jaw is the smallest, and is triangular 
in shape ; the second and third one a little larger and square : and the 
posterior one. which is about the size of the third, is rounded on its poste- 
rior Surface. The upper incisors, which arc of a deep Orange colour ante- 
riorly, are strong and compressed, deep at their roots. Hat on their sides : in 
some specimens there is a groove anteriorly running longitudinally through 
the middle, presenting the appearance of a double tooth ; in others, this 
tooth is wanting. In the lower jaw. the anterior grinder is the smallest : 
the rest increase in size to the last, which is the largest. 

Nose, obtuse : forehead, slightly arched ; whiskers, a little longer 
than tin 1 head ; ears, rounded, covered with short hairs on both surfaces : 
there is scarcely any projection of fur beyond the outer surface, as IS the 
case in nearly all tin- other species : the hair is ver\ coarse, appearing in 
some specimens sreniculate ; tail, broad and distichous ; legs and feet, 
stout : and the whole body has more the appearance of strength than ot 

i hi i 

In the grey variety of this species, which is — as tar as we have oli 
served — the most common, the nose, extending to within four or five lines 
of the eyes, the ears. feet, and belly, are white: forehead and cheeks, 
brownish black : tin- hairs on the back arc dark plumbeous near the root-, 
then a broad line of cinereous, then black, and broadly tipped with white, 
with an occasional black hair interspersed, especially on the neck and 
fore shoulder, giving the animal a lighl grey appearance : the hairs of the 
tail are. tor three-fourlhs of their length, white from the roots, then a ring 
of black, witli the tips white. This is the variety given by Bosc and other 
authors as Sciurus capistratus. 

Second variety : the Black Fox Squirrel. Nose and ears, white : a few 
light-coloured hairs on the feel : the rest of the bodv and tail, black ; there 


are, occasionally, a few white hairs in the tail. This is the original Black 
Squirrel of Catesby and Bartram, (Sci. Niger.) 

Third variety. Nose, mouth, under jaw and ears, white ; head, thighs 
and belly, black ; back and tail, dark grey. This is the variety alluded 
to by Desmarest, (Ency. Method, Mammalogie, 333.) 

There is a fourth variety, which is very common in Alabama, and 
also occasionally seen in the upper districts of South Carolina and Georgia, 
which has on several occasions been sent to us as a distinct species. The 
ears and nose, as in all the other varieties, are white. This, indeed, is a 
permanent mark, running through all the varieties, by which this species 
may be easily distinguished. Head and neck, black ; back, a rusty black- 
ish brown ; neck, thighs, and belly, bright rusty colour ; tail, annulated 
with black and red. This is the variety erroneously considered by the 
author of the notes on McMurtrie's " Translation of Cuvier," (see vol. i„ 
Appendix, p. 433,) as Sciurus rufiventer. 

The three first noted above are common in the lower and middle dis- 
tricts of South Carolina ; and, although they are known to breed together, 
yet it is very rare to find any specimens indicating an intermediate variety. 
Where the parents are both black, the young are invariably of the same 
colour — the same may be said of the other varieties ; where, on the other 
hand, there is one parent of each colour, an almost equal number are of 
the colour of the male, the other of the female. On three occasions, we 
had an opportunity of examining the young produced by progenitors of 
both colours. The first nest contained two black and two grey ; and 
the third, three black and two grey. The colour of the young did not, in a 
majority of instances, correspond with that of the parent of the same sex : 
although the male parent was black, the young males were frequently 
grey, and vice versa. 


Length of head and body - 

tail vertebrae 

tail to tip - 

palm and middle fore claw - 

sole and middle hind claw - 

fur on the back - 
Height of ear, posteriorly 


Although there is a general similarity of habit in all the species of 
Sciurus, yet the present has some peculiarities which we have never 
















noticed in any other. The Fox Squirrel, instead of preferring rich low 
lands, thickly clothed with timber, as is the case with the Carolina Grey 
Squirrel, is seldom seen in such situations: but prefers elevated pine 
ridges, where the trees are not crowded near each other, and where there 
is an occasional oak and hickory interspersed. It is also frequently found in 
the vicinity of rich valleys, to which it resorts lor nuts, acorns and ehinque- 
pins. (castanea pumila,) which such soils produce. In some aged and par- 
tially decayed oak. this Squirrel finds a safe retreat for itself and mate : a 
hollow tree of any kind is sufficient for its purpose if Nature has prepared 
a hole, it is occupied, if otherwise, the animal finds no difficulty in gnaw- 
ing one or several, for its accommodation. The tree selected is in all 
cases hollow, and the Squirrel only gnaws through the outer shell in order 
to find a residence, which requires but little labour and skill to render it 
secure and comfortable. At other times, it takes possession of the deserted 
hole of the ivory-billed woodpecker, (Picut principalis).) The summer duck 
(Anas sponsa) too, is frequently a competitor tor the same residence; 
contests tor possession occasionally take place between these three species, 
and we have generally observed, that the tenant that has already deposited 
its eggs or young in such situations is seldom ejected. The male and 
female summer duck unite in chasing and. beating with their wings am 
Squirrel that may approach their ne>is. nor are they idle with their bills 
and tongues, but continue biting, hissinir and clapping their wings until 
the intruder is expelled. On the other hand, when the Squirrel lias its 
young in the hide of a tree, and is intruded on. either bv a woodpecker or 
a summer immediately rushes to ii^ hole, and after having entered 
remains at the mouth of it. occasionally protruding its head, and with a 
low angry bark keeps possession, until the intruder, weary of the contest, 
leaves it unmolested. Thus Nature imparts to each species additional 
spirit and vigour in defence of its young: whilst at the same time, the in- 
truder on the possessions of others, as if conscious of the injustice of his 
acts, evinces a degree of pusillanimity and cowardice. 

In the vicinity of the permanent residence of the Fox Squirrel, several 
nests, composed of sticks, leaves and mosses, are usually seen on the pine 
trees. Tins.' are seldom placed on the summits, but in the forks, and 
more frequently where several branches unite and afford a secure basis 
lor them. These nests may be called their summer home, for they seem 
to he occupied only in line weather, and are deserted during wintry and 
stormy seasons, 

In December and January, the season of sexual intercourse, the male 
chases the female for hours together on the same tree, running up one side 
and descending on the other, making at the same time a low gutteral noise, 


(hat scarcely bears any resemblance to the barking which they utter on 
other occasions. The young are produced from the beginning of March, 
and sometimes earlier, to April. The nests containing them, which we 
have had opportunities of examining, were always in hollow trees. They 
receive the nourishment of the mother for four or five weeks, when they 
are left to shift for themselves, but continue to reside in the vicinity of, and 
even to occupy the same nests with, their parents till autumn. It has been 
asserted by several planters of Carolina, that this species has two broods 
during the season. 

The food of the Fox Squirrel is various ; besides acorns, and differ- 
ent kinds of nuts, its principal subsistence for many weeks in autumn 
is the fruit extracted from the cones of the pine, especially the 
long-leaved pitch pine, (Pinus palustris.) Whilst the green corn is 
yet in its milky state, this Squirrel makes long journeys to visit 
the fields, and for the sake of convenience frequently builds a tempo- 
rary summer-house in the vicinity, in order to share with the little Caro- 
lina squirrel and the crow a portion of the delicacies and treasures of 
the husbandman ; where he is also exposed to the risks incurred by the 
thief and plunderer : for these fields are usually guarded by a gunner, and 
in this way thousands of squirrels are destroyed during the green corn 
season. The Fox Squirrel does not appear to lay up any winter stores — 
there appears to be no food in any of his nests, nor does he, like the red 
squirrel, (Sciurus hudsonius), resort to any hoards which in the season of 
abundance were buried in the earth, or concealed under logs and leaves. 
During the winter season he leaves his retreat but seldom, and then only for 
a little while and in fine weather in the middle of the day. He has evidently 
the power, like the marmot and racoon, of being sustained for a consider- 
able length of time without much suffering in the absence of food. When 
this animal makes his appearance in winter, he is seen searching 
among the leaves where the wild turkey has been busy at work, and 
gleaning the refuse acorns which have escaped its search ; at such times, 
also, this squirrel does not reject worms and insects which he may detect 
beneath the bark of fallen or decayed trees. Towards spring, he feeds on 
the buds of hickory, oak, and various other trees, as well as on several 
kinds of roots, especially the wild potato, (Apios tuberosa.) As the spring 
advances farther, he is a constant visitor to the black mulberry tree, 
{Morus rubra,) where he finds a supply for several weeks. From this 
time till winter, the fruits of the field and forest enable him to revel in 

Most other species of this genus when alarmed in the woods immediately 
betake themselves to the first convenient tree that presents itself,— not so 

l'o.\ SQUIRREL l;;7 

with the Fox Squirrel. When he is aware of being discovered whilst on 
the ground, he pushes directly for .1 hollow tree, which is often :i quarter 
of a mile distant, and it requires a good dog, a man on horseback, or a 
very swift, runner, to induce him to alter his course, or compel him to 
ascend any other tree. When lie is silently seated on a tree and imagines 
himself unperceived by the person approaching him, he suddenly spreads 
himself flatly on the limb, and gently moving to the opposite side, often by 
this stratagem escapes detection. When, however, he is on a small tree, 
and is made aware of being observed, he utters a few querulous harking 
notes, and immediately leaps to the ground, and hastens to a more secure 
retreat. If overtaken by a dog, he defends himself with great spirit, and 
is often an overmatch for the small terriers which are used for the purpose 
of treeing him. 

He is very tenacious of life, and an ordinary shot gun, although it may 
wound him repeatedly, will seldom bring him down from the tops of the 
high pines to which he retreats when pursued, and in such situations the 
rifle is the only certain enemy he has to dread. 

This Squirrel is seldom seen out of its retreat early in the morning and 
evening, as is the habit of other species. He seems to be a late riser, 
and usually makes his appearance at 10 or 11 o'clock, and retires to his 
domicile long before evening. He does not appear to indulge so frequently 
in the barking propensities of the genus as the other and smaller species. 
This note, when heard, is not very loud, hut hoarse and gutteral. He is 
easily domesticated, and is occasionally seen in cages, hut is lrss active 
and sprightly than the smaller species. 

As an article of food, the Fox Squirrel is apparently equally good with 
any other species, although we have observed that the little Carolina 
squirrel is usually preferred, as being more tender and delicate. Where. 
however, squirrels are very abundant, men soon become surfeited with 
this kind of same, and in Carolina, even among the poorer elas^. it is not 
generally considered a great delicacy. 

This species, like all the rest of the squirrels, is infested during the 
summer months with a trouhlesome larva (Orst}-us), which fastening itself 
on the neck or shoulders, must be very annoying, as those most affected 
in this manner are usually poor and their fur appears thin and disordered. 
It is. however, less exposed to destruction from birds of prey and wild hcasi- 
than the other species. It leaves its retreat so late in the mornimr. and 
retires so early in the afternoon, that it is wholly exempt from the ra- 
pacity of owls, so destructive to the Carolina squirrel. We have seen it 
hid defiance to the attacks of the red-shouldered hawk (Falro lineatus), 
the only abundant species in the south ; and it frequents high grounds 
VOL. II. — 18. 


and open woods, to which the fox and wild cat seldom resort, during the 
middle of the day, so that man is almost the only enemy it has to dread. 


This species is said to exist sparingly in New Jersey. We have not ob- 
served it farther north than Virginia, nor could we find it in the moun- 
tainous districts of that state. In the pine forests of North Carolina, it 
becomes more common. In the middle and maritime districts of South 
Carolina it is almost daily met with, although it cannot be said to be a 
very abundant species anywhere. It exists in Georgia, Alabama, Missis- 
sippi, Florida and Louisiana. 


This Squirrel has been frequently described under different names. Bosc 
appears to be entitled to the credit of having bestowed on it the earliest 
specific name. Gmellin, in 1788, named it S. vulpinus. The black squirrel 
of Catesby is the black variety of the present species. 




2 1 i 8—8 

Incisive - ; Canine — ; Molar — = 40. 

Muzzle, long, extremity ciliated ; ears, none ; external eyes, small ; 
feet, pendactylous ; nails before, formed for digging — those behind, weak 
and small. 

The generic name Condylura was given by Illiger, founded on an acci- 
dental character. A figure <>r Delafaille erroneously represents the tail 
as knobbed : hence the genus was formed from two Greek words — x.«W«w 
(nodus) and «W* (cauda) " knobbed tail." 

There is butom' well determined species of this genus at present known. 


Common Star-Nosed Mole. 

('. naribus carunculatus ; cauda corpore breviore ; vellus obscure 
cinereo, nigricans, subtus dilutior. 


Nostrils, surrounded by a circle of membraneous processes ; tail, shorter 
than the body; colour, brownish black above, a shade lighter beneath. 


Sorex cristatus, Linn., Ed. 12, p. 73. 

Long tailed Mole, Pennant's Hist. Quad., vol. ii., p. 232 to 90, f. 2. 

" " Pennant's Aret. Zool., vol. i., p. 140. 

Talpa lonoicaudata erx. Syst., torn, i., p. 188. 
Long-tailed Mole, Condylura a lonqucqueue, Desm. Mainm., f. i., p. 158. 

" " Condylura oristata, Harlan, p. 36. 

" " Godm. vol. L, p, 100. 

" li C. macroura, Harlan, p. 39. 

" C. longicaudata, Richardson Fauna, p. 13 ; C. macroura, p. 234. 
" C. cristata, Dc Kay, X. Hist. N. Y., p. 12, 



In the upper jaw there are two large incisive teeth hollowed in front in 
the shape of a spoon. The next tooth on each side is long, pointed, coni- 
cal, with two tubercles, one before and the other behind at the base, re- 
sembling in all its characters a canine tooth : these are succeeded by five 
small molars on each side, the posterior one being the largest. There are 
three true molars on each side, with two acute tubercles on the inner side 
— the first or anterior of these molars is the largest, the second a little 
smaller, and the third or posterior one the smallest. In the lower jaw 
there are four large incisors, spoon shaped, and bearing a strong resem- 
blance to those in the upper jaw. The next on each side are tolerably long 
sharp, conical teeth, corresponding with those above which we have set 
down as canine. The four succeeding teeth on each side, which may be 
regarded as false molars, are lobed and increase in size as they approach 
the true molars ; the three molars on each side resemble those above, hav- 
ing two folds of enamel forming a point. 

In the shape of its body this species bears a considerable resemblance 
to the Common Mole of Europe (Talpa Europea) and to Brewer's Shrew 
Mole (Scalops Brewerii); in the indications on the nose, however, it differs 
widely from both. The body is cylindrical, about as stout as that of our 
Common Shrew Mole, and has the appearance of being attached to the 
head without any distinct neck. Muzzle, slender and elongated, termi 
nated with a cartilaginous fringe which originated its English name — the 
Star-nosed Mole. This circular disk is composed of twenty cartilaginous 
fibres, two of which situated beneath the nostrils are shortest. The eyes 
are very small. Moustaches, few and short. There is an orifice in place 
of an external ear, which does not project beyond the skin. Fore feet, 
longer and narrower than those of the Common Shrew, feet longer and 
narrower than those of the Common Mole; palms, naked, covered with 
scales ; claws, flattened, acute, channelled beneath ; hind extremities lon- 
ger than the fore ones, placed far back ; feet nearly naked, scaly ; tail, sub- 
cylindrical, sparingly covered with coarser hair. It is clothed with dense 
soft fur. 


Eyes, black ; nose and feet, flesh colour ; point of nails and end of car- 
tilaginous fringe, roseate. The fur on the whole body, dark plumbeous at 
the roots, and without any annulations, deepening towards the apex into a 
brownish black. In some shades of light the Star Nose appears perfectly 
black throughout. On the under surface it is a shade lighter. In the 


colour of the feet, we have seen some variations: a specimen before us, 
has dark brown feet, another pale ashy brown, and a third yellowish 
white ; the majority of specimens, however, have their feet brownish 
white. One specimen is marked under the chin, throat and neck with 
light yellowish brown, the others are darker in those parts. 



From point of nose to root of tail 5 

Tail .... ... 3 

Prom heel to end of claw $ 

Breadth of palm | 


As far as we have been able to ascertain, the habits of this species do 
not differ very widely from those of our Common Shrew Mole. We doubt, 
however, whether its galleries ever run to so great a distance as those of 
the hitler animal, nor does it appear to lie iii the habit of visiting high 
grounds. It burrows and tonus galleries under ground, and appears to 
be able to make rapid progress in soft earth. Its food is of the same na- 
ture as that of the Common Mole, and it appears to prefer the vicinity 
of brooks or swampy places, doubtless because in such localities earth 
worms and the larva- of various insects are generally abundant. 

The proper use of the radiating process at the end of the nose lias not 
been Rally ascertained, but as the animal has the power of moving these 

tendrils in \arioiis directions, the) maybe useful in its search after worms 
or other prey, as is the moveable snout of the Shrew Mole. When eon- 
lined in a box, or on the floor of a room, this Mole feeds on meat of almost 
any kind. It is not as strong as the Common Mole, nor as injurious to the 
Farmer, since it avoids cultivated Gelds, and confines itself to meadows 
and low s\\ ampy places. 

During the rutting season the tail of the Star-no*ed Mole is greatly en- 
larged, which circumstance caused Dr. Harlan to describe a specimen 
taken at that season ,-.s a new species, under the name Condylura 

Dr. Godman's account of the abundance of this species does not coincide 
with our own experience on this subject He says, " In many places it 
is scarcely possible to advance a step without breaking down their galle- 
ries, by which the surface is thrown into ridges and the surface of the 
green sward in no slight degree disfigured." We have sometimes sup- 
posed that he might have mistaken the galleries of the Common Shrew 


Mole lor those made by the Star-Nose, as to us it has always appeared 
a rare species in every part of our Union. 

In a few localities where we were in the habit, many years ago, of ob- 
taining the Star-nosed Mole, it was always found on the banks of rich 
meadows near running streams. The galleries did not run so near the 
surface as those of the Common Shrew Mole. We caused one of the gal- 
leries to be dug out, and obtained a nest containing three young, appa- 
rently a week old. The radiations on the nose were so slightly developed 
that until we carefully examined them we supposed they were the young 
of the Common Shrew Mole. The nest was spacious, composed of withered 
grasses, and situated in a large excavation under a stump. The old ones 
had made their escape, and we endeavoured to preserve the young ; but 
the want of proper nourishment caused their death in a couple of days. 

The specimen of the Star-nosed Mole, from which our plate was drawn, 
was sent to us by our highly esteemed friend James G. King, Esq., having 
been captured on a moist piece of ground at his country seat in New Jersey, 
opposite the city of New- York. 


This species is found sparingly in all the northern and eastern 
states. Dr. Richardson supposes it to exist as far north as Lake Su- 
perior. We obtained a specimen five miles from the Falls of Niagara, 
on the Canada side, and have traced it in all the New-England States. 
We received specimens from Dr. Brewer, obtained near Boston, and from 
W. O. Ayres, Esq., from Long Island. We caught a few of these animals 
near New-York, and obtained others from various parts of the state. We 
saw a specimen at York, Pennsylvania, and found another at Frankfort, 
east of Philadelphia. We captured one in the valleys of the Virginia 
Mountains, near the Red Sulphur Springs, and received another from the 
valleys in the mountains of North Carolina, near the borders of South 
Carolina, and presume it may follow the valleys of the Alleghany ridge as 
far to the south as those latitudes. We have never found it in South Ca- 
rolina or Georgia, but to the west we have traced it in Ohio and the 
northern parts of Tennessee. 

general remarks. 

We have been induced to undertake a careful examination of the teeth 
of this species, which forms the type of the genus, in consequence of the 
wide differences existing among authors in regard to the characters of the 
teeth. Demarest gave six incisors above and four below in the under jaw, 


cheekteeth fourteen above and sixteen beneath. In this arrangement he 
is followed by Harlan, Godman, Griffith, De Kay and others. The de- 
scription of the teeth, by Desmarbst, is very accurate, and so is the very 
recent one of Dr. Dr. Kay. F. Civier. on whose judgment, in regard to 
characters founded on dentition, we would sooner rely than on that of any 
other naturalist, has on the oilier hand, {Des dents des Mammiferes, 1825, 
1>. ."">(>.) given descriptions and figures of these teeth, there being two in- 
cisive, two canine, and sixteen molar above, and two incisive, two canine. 
and fourteen molar below. Our recent examination of a series of skulls 
is in accordance with bis views, and we have adopted, his dental arrange- 
ment. The difference, however, between these authors is more in appear- 
ance than in reality. The incisors, canine, and false molars, in their cha- 
racter so nearly approach each other, that it 1- exceedingly difficult to 
assign to the several grades of teeth their true position in the dental 

Linn bi s described tins species under the name of Son 1 cristatus, in 
1770, (12th edition, p. 73) : Pens wr, in 1771, gave a description and poor 
figure of what he called the Long-tailed Mole: and in 177*. Erxlebeh 
bestowed on the animal thus figured, the name of S. longicaudata. 
Pennant's specimen was received from New-York, and although it was 
badly figured it was correctly characterized " Long tailed Mole, with a 

radiated nose." and in his " Arctic Zoology " he describes it as " the nose 
long, the end radiated with short tendrils." The whole mistake we con- 
ceive was made by Desmarbst, whose work we ha\e found exceedingly 
inaccurate, misled, probably, by Pennant's figure, without looking at his 
description, lie gives one of the characters "point des crdtes nasales," 
when 1'isN iNT had statedc)uito the reverse. Hence the error of II LRLAN, 
whose article on Condylura longicaudata is a translation of Desmarbst. 
Wc feel confident that this supposed species must be struck from the list 
of true species in our Fauna. 

The ( 'ondylura macroura of 1 1 irl w, (Fauna Americana, p. 30.) was re- 
garded as a new species, in consequence of a specimen with the tail 
greatly enlarged. It was a second time published by Richardson, who 
adopted Harlan's name; Godman first suggested tin' idea that this 
might be traced to a peculiarity in the animal at a particular season. 
It is known that a similar enlargement takes place annually in the 
neck of the male deer during the rutting season. We have examined 
several specimens where the tail was only slightly enlarged, and tin 
swelling was just commencing, and we possess one where one half 
of the tail from the root is of the usual large size of ('. macroura, 
and the other hall' towards the end is abruptly diminished so as to 


leave one half of the tail to designate a new species and the other 
half forcing it back to its legitimate place in the system of nature. 

The singular character (knobbed tail) on which this Genus was er- 
roneously founded should suggest to the naturalist the necessity of cau- 
tion. The tails of quadrupeds in drying often assume a very different 
shape from that which they originally possessed. This is especially 
the case among the Shrews and mice, that are described from dried 
specimens, as square-tailed, angular or knobbed, whereas in nature their 
tails were round. 






I7icisive -; Lateral incisive or false Canine from ; Molar from 

a' •' J 2-2 J 3-3* 

from 26 to 34 teeth. 

Incisive teeth in the upper jaw indented at their base ; in the lower, 
proceeding horizontally from their aveoli and turned upwards towards 
their points where they are usually of a brown colour: lateral incisive 
or False canine, conical, small, shorter than the cheek-teeth. 

Muzzle and nose, much elongated : snout, moveable. Ears and 
small; pcndactylous ; nails, hooked. A series of glands along the flanks, 
exuding a scented unctuous matter. 

The generic name is derived from the Latin word Sorex, a Shrew, 
field rat. 

Vulhors have described about twenty-three species of Shrews, twenty 
existing on the Eastern continent and thirteen in N. America. Many 
of these species are not as yet determined, we can scarcely doubt 
from past discoveries thai this number will in time be greatly increased. 
They arc. no doubt, susceptible of being arranged into different groups 
and genera. 

We know no genus in which the American naturalist has a greater 
prospect of success in adding new species than that of Sorex. 


Say's Least Shrew. 


S. supra fuscenti-cinereus, infra cinereus ; dentibus nigricantibus ; cauda 
brevi, sub-cylindrica. 
vol. u. — 19 



Body above brownish ash, cinereous beneath. Teeth black, tail short, 


Sorex Parvus, Say, Long's Exped., vol. i., p. 163. 
" " Linsby, Am. Journal, vol. xxxix., p. 388. 

*' " Harlan, p. 28. Godman, vol. i., p. 78, pi., fig. 2. 

Dekay, Nat. Hist. N. Y„ p. 19. 

2 ... 4 4 -- 4 4 

Incisive - ; Lateral incisive — ; Molar — = 32. 

2 2—2 4—4 

In the upper jaws the incisors are small, much hooked, and have 
a posterior lobe ; the succeeding lateral incisors, are minute, conical, 
not lobed, the two anterior ones much the largest. The first grinder 
is smaller than the second and third, the fourth is the smallest. In 
the lower jaw the incisors are a little smaller than those in the upper. 
They are much more hooked and have each a large posterior lobe. 
The two lateral incisors are small not lobed — the grinders have each 
two sharp points rising above the enamel. The second tooth is largest 
and the third smallest. Nose slender and long, but less so than that 
of many other species, especially that of S. longirostris and S. Richard- 
sonii. Muzzle, bi-lobate, naked ; moustaches, numerous, long, reaching 
to the shoulders ; body, slender ; eyes, very small, ears, none ; the audi- 
tory opening being covered by a round lobe, without any folds above ; 
feet sparsely clothed with minute hairs, palms naked ; tail thickly clothed 
with minute hairs, fur, short, close, soft, and silky. 


All the teeth are at their points intensely black ; whiskers, white 
and black ; point of nose, feet, and nails, whitish ; the hair is, on the 
upper surface plumbeous from the roots, and of an ashy-brown at the 
tips ; a shade lighter on the under surface : under the chin it is of an 
ashy grey gradually blending with the colours on the back. 




From point of nose to root of tail. •_'; 

Tail f 


This lift 1 • - creature, to winch the above name was attached by Sat, 
was first captured by Mr. Titiam K. Peals, during Loire's Expedition 
to the Rocky Mountains, al Engineer Cantonment on the Missouri, where 
it was found iii a pit-fall excavated for catching wolves. 

Look at the plate, reader, and imagine the astonishment of the hunter 
on examining the pit intended for the destruction of the savage prowlers 
of the prairies, when, instead of the game that he intended to entrap, 
he perceived ihis, the Leasl Shrew, timidly running across the liottom. 

The family to which this Shrew belongs, is somewhat allied in form 
and habits to the mule. Inn many species are now probably extinct. 

We have seen a fragment of a fossil remainder of the tooth 
Sorex, found by our young friend Dr. Lbcontb, of New- York, in the 
mining region adjoining Lake Superior, from the size of which, the ani- 
mal must have been at least a yard long, and no doubt was, with 
carnivorous teeth, a formidable beast of prey ; whether it had ins 
and worms of a corresponding size to feed upon, in its day and gi 
ration, is a matter of mere conjecture, as even the wonderful discoveries 
of geologists have thrown but little light on the modes of life of the 
inhabitants of the ancient world, although some whole skeletons are 
found from time to time by their researches. 

The Least Shrew feeds upon insects and larva', worms and the flesh 
of any dead bird or beast that it may chance to discover. 

It also eats seeds and grains of different kinds. It burrows in the 
earth, but smks its food more upon the surface of the ground than 
the mole, and runs with ease around its burrow about, fences and logs. 
Some birds of prey pounce upon the Shrew, whilst it is playing or 
seeking its food on the grass, but as it has a musky, disagreeable 
smell, it is commonly left, alter being killed, to rot on the ground, as 
we have picked up a good many of these little quadrupeds, which to 
all appearance had been killed by either eats, owls or hawks. This 
smell arises from a secretion e\uded from glands which are placed 
on the sides of the animal (Geotfroy. Mem. Mils. Hist. Nat.. Vol. i.. 
1815), This secretion, like that of most animals, varies according to the 
age, the season, &c, and prevails more in males than females, 


Of the mode in which the Least Shrew passes the winter we have 
no very positive information. It is capable of sustaining a great degree 
of cold. We have never found one of these animals in a torpid state, 
when examining burrows, holes, or cavities in and under rocks or stones, 
&c, for the purpose of ascertaining, if possible, the manner in which 
they passed the winter. We have seen minute tracks on the surface 
of the snow where it was four feet in depth in the Northern parts of 
New-York, which we ascertained were the foot-prints of a Shrew which 
was afterwards captured, although we cannot be certain that it was 
this species. It had sought the dried stalks of the pig weed (chenopo- 
dium album) on which the ripened seeds were still hanging and upon 
which it had evidently been feeding. 

We are unacquainted with any other habits of this minute species. 


If authors have made no mistake in the designation of this species, 
as we strongly suspect, it has a wide geographical range : according 
to Richardson, it is found as far to the north as Behring's Straits. The 
specimens from which our figures were taken, were obtained in the im- 
mediate vicinity of New- York. Dr. Dekay, in his Nat. Hist, of New- 
York, p. 20, mentions that although he had been unsuccessful in obtaining 
it in New- York, a specimen was found in Connecticut, by Mr. Lixsley. 
We have not ascertained its southern range, all we know of its exist- 
ence in the west, is from Say's short description of the only specimen 
obtained west of the Missouri. 


All our authors seem anxious to obtain Say's Least Shrew, and we 
have seen dozens of specimens of young Shrews of several species, labeled 
in the cabinets "Sorex Parvus." 

Although there were few more accurate describers than Say, yet his 
description of S. parvus, is too imperfect, to enable us to feel confident 
of the species. There was no examination of its dental system, and 
his description would easily apply to half a dozen other species. The 
characters by which we may separate the different Shrews are not 
easily detected, they very much resemble each other in form, colour 
and habits ; they are minute nocturnal animals and not easily procured. 

There exist but few specimens in our cabinets to enable us to in- 
stitute comparisons, and a century will pass away before all our species 
are discovered. We have very little doubt, that when the species which 


u-ns obtained in the far Wesl and described by Sw. and that of Richard- 
son from the far north, and ours from the vicinity of New- York, are 
obtained and compared and their dental system carefully examined, it 
will he ascertained that they are three distinct species, and our suc- 
cessors will be surprised that the old authors gave to the Shrews so 
wide a geographical range. 

Say's description is subjoined for convenient comparison. "Body 
above brownish cinereous, beneath cinereous: head elongated, eyes and 
ears concealed; whiskers Iohl'. the longest nearly attaining the back 
'of the head; nose naked emarginate ; front teeth black, lateral ones 
piceous ; feel whitish, live-toed; nails prominent, acute, while: tail 
short, sub-cylindrical, of moderate thickness, slightly thicker in the mid- 
dle — whitish beneath. Length of head and body, two inches four 
lines, of tail. 0. *.">." Ricbakdson's animal was according to his descrip- 
tion, dark brownish grey above, and grey beneath. Length of head 
and body two inches three lines, tail one inch. 



Prairie Wolf, — Barking Wolf. 


C. cano cinereus nigris et opace pulvo-cinnameo-variegatus ; lateri- 
bus pallidioribus ; fascia taise ISta brevinigra" ; cauda recta fusiformi 
cineraceo-cinnameoque variegata apice nigra. 


Hair cinereous grey, varied with black above and dull fulvous cinna- 
mon ; sides paler than the back, obsoletehj fasciate, with black above the 
legs ; tail straight, bushy, fusiform, varied with grey and cinnamon, tip 


Small Wolves, Dr Praly, Louisiana, vol. ii., p. 54. 
Prairie Wolf, Gass. Journal, p. 56. 

Prairie Wolf and Burrowing Dog, Lewis and Clark, vol. i., p. 102, 13, 203. 
vol. Hi., pp. 102, 136, 203. 
" Schoolcraft's Travels, 285. 
Canis Latrans, Say, Long's Exped. i., p. 168. 
" " Harlan, p. 33. 
God., 1 vol., 26. 
" Richardson, F. B. Ar. 75. 
Lyciscus Cajottis, Hamilton Smith, Nat. Lib., vol. iv., p. 164, p. 6. 


The Barking or Prairie Wolf is intermediate in size, between the 
large American Wolf and the grey Fox (V. virginianus.) It is a 
more lively animal than the former, and possesses a cunning fox-like 
countenance. In seeing it on the prairies, and also in menageries, 
in a state of domestication, we have often been struck with its quick, 
restless manner, and with many traits of character that reminded us of 
sly reynard. 

The nose is sharp and pointed ; nostrils moderately dilated and naked 
— the upper surface to the forehead covered with compact short hairs ; 
eyelids placed obliquely on the sides of the head. Eyes rather small — 





moustaches few, very rigid, extending to the eyes, lour or five stiff 
hairs rising on the sides of the neck below the ears. Head rather I road ; 
Bars, erect, broad at base, running to an obtuse point, clothed with 

compact soft fur in which but few of the longer hairs exist : body, toler- 
ably stout . : legs, of moderate length, shorter in proportion than those 
of the common Wolf; Tail, large and bushy, composed like the cover- 
ing of the body of two kinds of hair, the inner sofl and woolly, the outer 
longer and coarser and from two to three and a half inches in length. 
Soles of the feet naked, nails rather stout, shaped like those of the 
(log. The whole structure of the animal is indicative of speed, but from 
its compact shape and rather short leirs we would be led to suppose 
that it was rather intended for a short race than a long heat. 


Nostrils, around the ed^es of tin- mouth, and moustachi -. black ; upper 
surface of nose, and around the eyes, reddish brown; upper lip. around 
the edges of the mouth, and throat, white: eye-lids, yellowish while; 
hairs on the forehead, at the roots reddish brown, then a line ol 
yellowish white tipped with black, giving it a reddish grey appear- 
ance. Inner surface of the ears (which are thinly clothed with Irair) 
white: outer surface, yellowish brown: the fori' legs reddish brown, 
with a stripe of blackish extending from the fore shoulder in an im 
ular black line over the knee to near the pans, ('uter surface of the 
"hind Legs, reddish brown, inner surface a little lighter. 

i)n the back the soft under fur is dingy yellow; tin- longer hair 
from the roots to two-thirds of its length black, then a broad line 
of yellowish brown, broadly tipped with black. Neck, reddish brown ; 
throat and all beneath, yellowish white, with bars under the throat 
and on the chest ami belly of a reddish tinge. On the tail the softer 
hair is plumbeOUS, the longer hairs are like those on the back, except 
on the tip of the tail where they are black for nearly their whole 
length. The description here given is from a very tine specimen obtained 
at San Antonio in Texas. There is not however a uniformity of colour 
in these animals, although they vary less than the large wolves. The 
specimen which Richardson described was obtained on the Saskatch- 
ewan. We examined it in the Zoological Museum of London : it difli 
in some shades of colours from ours — its ears are a little shorter, 
its nose less pointed, and the skull less in breadth — but it was evi- 
dently the same species, and could not even be regarded as a distinct 
variety. The many specimens we examined and compared, in 

••"•ious tints of colour differed considerably, some wanting the brown 



tints, being nearly grey, while many had black markings on the shin 
and forelegs which were absent in others. In all descriptions of 
wolves, colour is a very uncertain guide in the designation of species. 


From point of nose to root of tail . 
Tail vertebrae, .... 

Do. to end of hair, .... 
Height of ear, .... 

Breadth of do. at the base, 
From heel to end of longest nail, 
Point of nose to corner of eye, 
Breadth of skull, .... 

Fore shoulder to end of longest nail, 
Breadth across the forehead, 

Ft. Inches. 

2 10 





We saw a good number of these small wolves on our trip up the 
Missouri river, as well as during our excursions through those portions 
of the country which we visited bordering on the Yellow Stone . 

This species is well known throughout the western parts of the 
States of Arkansas and Missouri, and is a familiar acquaintance of the 
" voyageurs" on the upper Missouri and Mississippi rivers. It is also found 
on the Saskatchewan. It has much the appearance of the common 
grey Wolf in colour, but differs from it in size and manners. 

The Prairie Wolf hunts in packs, but is also often seen prowling 
singly over the plains in search of food. During one of our morning 
rambles near Fort Union, we happened to start one of these wolves 
suddenly. It made off at a very swift pace and we fired at it with- 
out any effect, our guns being loaded with small shot at the time ; after 
running about one hundred yards it suddenly stopped and shook itself 
Tiolently, by which we perceived that it had been touched ; in a few 
moments it again started and soon disappeared beyond a high range 
of hills, galloping along like a hare or an antelope. 

The bark or howl of this wolf greatly resembles that of the dog, 
and on one occasion the party travelling with us were impressed by 
the idea that Indians were in our vicinity, as a great many of these 
wolves were about us and barked during the night like Indian dogs. 
We were all on the alert, and our guns were loaded with ball in 
readiness for an attack. 



In Texas the Prairie Wolves are perhaps more abundant than the other 
species; they hunt in packs of six or eight, which are seen to most ad- 
vantage in the evening, in pursuit of deer. It is amusing to sec them 
cut across the curves made by the latter when trying to escape, the. 
hindmost Wolves thus saving some distance, and finally Striking in ahead 
of the poor deer and surrounding it, when a single Wolf would fail 
in the attempt to capture it. By its predatory and destructive habits, 
this Wolf is a great annoyance to the settlers in the new territories of 
the west. Travellers and hunters on the prairies, dislike it fur lulling the 
deer, which supply these wanderers with their best meals, and furnish 
them with part of their clothing, the buck-skin breeches, the most durable 
garment, for the woods or plains. The hark or call-note of this Wolf, al- 
though a wild sound to the inhabitant of any settled and cultivated part of 
the country, is sometimes welcomed, as it often announces tin near approach 
of daylight ; and if the wanderer, aroused from his slumbers by the how- 
ling of this animal, raises his blanket and turns his head toward the 
east, from his camping-ground underneath the branches of some broad 
spreading live-oak, he can see tin' red glow, perchance, that fringes 
the misty morning vapours, giving the promise of a deal and calm sun- 
rise in the mild climate of Texas, even in the depth of winter. Should 
day-light thus be at hand, the true hunter is at once a-foot, short 
space of time does lie require lor the duties of the toilet, and soon 
he has made a fire, boiled his coffee, and broiled a bil of venison or wild 

This Wolf feeds on birds, small and large quadrupeds, and when 
hard pressed by hunger, even upon carrion or carcasses of buffaloes, &C 
It is easily tamed when caught young, and makes a tolerable com- 
panion, though not gifted with tin- good qualities of the dog. We 
had one once, which was kept in a friend's store in the west, and 
we discovered it to be something of a rat catcher. This individual 
was very desirous of being on friendly terms with all the doc;s about 
the premises, especially with a large French poodle that belonged to 
our friend, but the poodle would not permit our half-savage barking 
Wolf to play with him, and generally returned its attempted c:in^i- 
with an angry snap, which put all further friendly demonstrations out 
of the question. One day we missed our pet from his accustomed 
place near the back part of the ware-house, and while we were won- 
dering what had become of him, were attracted by an unusual uproar 
in the street. In a moment wc perceived the noise was occasioned 
by a whole pack of curs of high and low degree, which were in full 
cry, and in pursuit of our Prairie Wolf. The creature thus hard beset, 


before we could interfere, had reached a point opposite a raised window, 
and to our surprise, made a sudden spring at it and jumped into the 
warehouse without touching the edges of the sills, in the most admir- 
able manner, while his foes were completely baffled. 

After this adventure the Wolf would no longer go out in the town 
and seemed to give up his wish to extend the circle of his acquaintance. 

The Barking or Prairie Wolf digs its burrows upon the prairies on 
some slight elevation, to prevent them from being filled with water. 
These dens have several entrances, like those of the red fox. The 
young, from five to seven and occasionally more in number, are brought 
forth in March and April. They associate in greater numbers than 
the larger Wolves, hunt in packs, and are said by Richardson to be 
fleeter than the common Wolf. A gentleman, an experienced hunter 
on the Saskatchewan, informed him that the only animal on the plains 
which he could not overtake when mounted on a good horse, was the 
prong-horned antelope, and that the Prairie Wolf was next in speed. 

All our travellers have informed us, that on the report of a gun on the 
prairies, numbers of these Wolves start from the earth, and warily 
approach the hunter, under an expectation of obtaining the offal of the 
animal he has killed. 

The skins of the Prairie Wolves are of some value, the fur being soft 
and warm ; they form a part of the Hudson Bay Company's exportations, 
to what extent we are not informed. Richardson says they go under 
the name of cased-wolves skins, not split open like those of the large 
Wolf, but stripped off and inverted or cased, like the skin of a fox 
or rabbit 


According to Richardson, the northern range of this species is about 
the fifty-fifth degree of latitude. It is found abundantly on the plains of 
the western prairies and sparingly on the plains adjoining the woody 
shores of the Columbia river. It exists in California, and is found in 
Texas and on the eastern side of the mountains in New Mexico. 
We have traced it to within the tropics, but are not aware that it reaches 
as far south as Panama. The eastern branches of the Missouri river 
appear to be its farthest eastern range. 



There has been but little difficulty in the nomenclature of this spe- 
cies. Hamilton Smith, we perceive, has given it a new name, from a 
specimen obtained in Mexico. The description of its habits, by Lewis 
and Clarke, is full and accurate and in accordance with our own ob- 


CANIS LUPUS.— Linn.— (Var. Axbtjs.) 

White American Wolf. 

C. magnitudine formaque C. lupi ; vellere flavido-albo ; naso cane- 


Size and shape of the grey wolf, fur over the whole body of a yellowish- 
white colour, with a. slight tinge of grey on the nose. 


White Wolf, Lewis and Clark, vol. i„ p. 107, vol. iii., p. 263. 
Canis Lupus, Albus, Sabine, Frank. Journ., p. 652. 
White Wolf, Frank. Journal, p. 312. 

" " Lyon's Private Journal, p. 279. 

Lupus Albus Var. B. White Wolf, Richardson, F. B. A., p. 68. 


In shape, this Wolf resembles all the other varieties of large North 
American Wolves. (The prairie or barking Wolf, a distinct and different 
species, excepted.) It is large, stout, and compactly built ; the canine 
teeth are long ; others stout, large, rather short. Eyes, small. Ears, short 
and triangular. Feet, stout. Nails, strong and trenchant. Tail, long and 
bushy. Hairs on the body, of two kinds ; the under coat composed of 
short, soft and woolly hair, interspersed with longer coarse hair five inches 
in length. The hairs on the head and legs are short and smooth, having 
none of the woolly appearance of those on other portions of the body. 

The short fur beneath the long white coat, yellowish white, the whole 
outer surface white, there is a slight tinge of greyish on the nose. Nails 
black ; teeth white. 

Another Specimen. — Snow-white on every part of the body except the 
tail, which is slightly tipped with black. 






Another. — Lighl grey on the sides legs and tail ; a dark brown stripe 
on the back, through which many white hairs protrude, giving it the ap- 
pearance of being spotted with brown and white. This variety resem- 
bles the young Wolf noticed by Richardson, (p. 68) which he denominates 
the pied Wolf. 


Feel. Inches. 

From point of nose to root of tail. ... 1 

Do. tail, vertebra'. - 12 

Do. do. end of hair. - - ..18 

Height of ear, - - 34 


The White Wolf is far the most common variety of the Wolf tribe to 
be met with around Fort Union, on the prairies, and on the plains bor- 
dering the Yellow Stone river. When we tirst reached Fort Union we 
found Wolves in great abundance, of several different colours, white, 
grey, and brindled. A good many were shot from the walls during our 
residence there, by Edward Harris, Esq., and Mr. J. G. Bell. We ar- 
rived at this post on the 12th of Jane, and although it might be supposed 
at that season the Wolves could procure food with ease, they seemed to 
be enticed to the vicinity of the Fort by the cravings of hunger. One day 
soon after our arrival, Mr. Culbe&tson told us that if a Wolf made its 
appearance on the prairie, near the Fort, he would give chase to it on 
hois. link, and bring it to us alive or dead. Shortly after, a Wolf coming 
in view, he had his horse saddled and brought up, but in the meantime 
the Wolf became frightened and began to make off, and we thought Mr. 
Culbf.rtson would never succeed in capturing him. We waited, how- 
ever, with our companions on the platform inside the walls, with our 
heads only projecting above the pickets, to observe the result. In a few 
moments we saw Mr. Culbertson on his prancing steed as he rode out of 
the gate of the Fort with gun in hand, attired only in his shirt, breeches 
and boots. He put spurs to his horse and went off with the swiftness 
of a jockey bent upon winning a race. The Wolf trotted on and ever] 
now and then stopped to gaze at the horse and his rider, but soon finding 
that he could no longer indulge his curiosity with safety, he suddenly gal- 
lopped off with all his speed, but he was too late in taking the alarm, and 
the gallant steed soon began to gain on the poor cur, as we saw the horse 
rapidly shorten the distance between (lie Wolf and his enemy. Mr. Cri,- 
berts. in tired off his gun as .1 signal to us that he felt sure of bringing in 


the beast, and although the hills were gained by the fugitive, he had not 
time to make for the broken ground and deep ravines, which he would have 
reached in few minutes, when we heard the crack of the gun again, and 
Mr. Culbertson galloping along dexterously picked up the slain Wolf with- 
out dismounting from his horse, threw him across the pummel of his sad- 
dle, wheeled round and rode back to the Fort, as fast as he had gone 
forth, a hard shower of rain being an additional motive for quickening 
his pace, and triumphantly placed the trophy of his chase at our disposal. 
The time occupied, from the start of the hunter, until his return with his 
prize did not exceed twenty minutes. The jaws of the animal had 
become fixed, and it was quite dead. Its teeth had scarified one of 
Mr. Culbertson's fingers considerably, but we were assured that this 
was of no importance, and that such feats as the capture of this wolf were 
so very common, that no one considered it worthy of being called an 

Immediately after this real wolf hunt, a sham Buffalo chase took 
place, a prize of a suit of clothes being provided for the rider who 
should load and shoot the greatest number of times in a given distance. 
The horses were mounted, and the riders started with their guns empty — 
loaded in a trice, while at speed, and fired first on one side and then 
on the other, as if after Buffaloes. Mr. Culbertson fired eleven times 
in less than half a mile's run, the others fired less rapidly, and one of 
them snapped several times, but as a snap never brings down a Buf- 
falo, these mishaps did not count. We were all well pleased to see 
these feats performed with much ease and grace. None of the riders 
were thrown, although they suffered their bridles to drop on their 
horses necks, and plied the whip all the time. Mr. Culbertson's mare, 
which was of the full, black foot Indian breed, about five years old, 
was highly valued by that gentleman, and could not have been pur- 
chased of him for less than four hundred dollars. 

To return to the wolves. — These animals were in the habit of 
coming at almost every hour of the night, to feed in the troughs 
where the offal from the Fort was deposited for the hogs. On one 
occasion, a wolf killed by our party was devoured during the night, 
probably by other prowlers of the same species. 

The white wolves are generally fond of sitting on the tops of the 
eminences, or small hills in the prairies, from which points of vantage 
they can easily discover any passing object on the plain at a consider- 
able distance. 

We subjoin a few notes on wolves generally, taken from our journals, 
made during our voyage up the Missouri in 1843. 


These animals are extremely abundant on the Missouri river, and 
in the adjacent country. On our way up that extraordinary stream, 
we first heard of wolves being troublesome to the farmers who own 
sheep, calves, young colts, or any other stock on which these ravenous 
beasts feed, at Jelferson city, the seat of goverment of the State of 
Missouri ; but to our great surprise, while there not a black wolf 
was seen. 

Wolves are said to feed at times, when very hard pressed by hun- 
ger, on certain roots which they dig out of the earth with their fore- 
paws, scratching like a common dog in the ground. When they have 
killed a Buffalo or other large animal, they drag the remains of the 
carcass to a concealed spot if at hand, then scrape out the loose 
soil and bury it, and often lie down on the top of the grave they have 
thus made for their victim, until urged again by hanger, they exume 
the body and feast upon it. Along the banks of the river, where oc- 
casionally many Buffaloes perish, their weight and bulk preventing them 
from ascending where the shore is precipitous, wolves are to be seen 
in considerable numbers feeding upon the drowned Bisons. 

Although extremely cunning in hiding themselves, at the report of 
a gun wolves soon come forth from different quarters, and when the 
alarm is over, you have only to conceal yourself, and you will soon 
see them advancing towards you, giving you a fair chance of shooting 
them, sometimes at not more than thirty yards distance. It is said 
that although they frequently pursue Buffalo, etc., to the river, they 
seldom it' ever follow them after they take to the water. Their gait and 
movements are precisely the same as those of the common dog, and their 
mode of copulating, and the number of young brought forth at a litter 
is about the same. The diversity of their size and colour is quite re- 
markable, no two being quite alike. 

Some days while ascending the river, we saw from twelve to twenty- 
live wolves ; on one occasion we observed one apparently bent on cross- 
ing the river, it swam toward our boat and was tired at, upon which it 
wheeled round and soon made to the shore from which it had started. 

At another time we saw a wolf attempting to climb a very steep 
and high bank of clay, when, after falling back thrice, it at last reached 
the top and disappeared at once. On the opposite shore another was 
seen lying down on a sand bar like a dog. and any one might have sup- 
posed it to be one of those attendants on man. Mr. Bei.i. shot at it, 
but too low. and the fellow scampered off to the margin of the woods, 
there stopped to take a last lingering look, and then vanished. 

In hot weather when wolves go to the river, they usually walk in 


up to their sides, and cool themselves while lapping the water, pre- 
cisely in the manner of a dog- They do not cry out or howl when 
wounded or when suddenly surprised, but snarl, and snap their jaws to- 
gether furiously. It is said when suffering for want of food, the strongest 
will fall upon the young or weak ones, and kill and eat them. Whilst 
prowling over the prairies (and we had many opportunities of seeing them 
at such times) they travel slowly, look around them cautiously, and will 
not disdain even a chance bone that may fall in their way ; they bite 
so voraciously at the bones thus left by the hunter that in many cases 
their teeth are broken off short, and we have seen a number of speci- 
mens in which the jaws showed several teeth to have been fractured 
in this way. 

After a hearty meal, the wolf always lies down when he supposes 
himself in a place of safety. We were told that occasionally when 
they had gorged themselves, they slept so soundly that they could be 
approached and knocked on the head. 

The common wolf is not unfrequently met with in company with 
the Prairie wolf {Canis latrans.) On the afternoon of the 13th of July, 
as Mr. Bell and ourselves were returning to Fort Union, we counted 
eighteen wolves in one gang, which had been satiating themselves on 
the carcass of a Buffalo on the river's bank, and were returning to 
the hills to spend the night. Some of them had their stomachs dis- 
tended with food and appeared rather lazy. 

We were assured at Fort Union that wolves had not been known 
to attack men or horses in that vicinity, but they will pursue and kill 
mules and colts even near a trading post, always selecting the fattest. The 
number of tracks or rather paths made by the wolves from among 
and around the hills to that station are almost beyond credibility, and 
it is curious to observe their sagacity in choosing the shortest course 
and the most favourable ground in travelling. 

We saw hybrids, the offspring of the wolf and the cur dog, and 
also their mixed broods : some of which resemble the wolf, and others 
the dog. Many of the Assiniboin Indians who visited Fort Union 
during our stay there, had both wolves and their crosses with the 
common dog in their trains, and their dog carts (if they may be so 
called) were drawn alike by both. 

The natural gait of the American wolf resembles that of the New- 
foundland dog, as it ambles, moving two of its legs on the same side 
at a time. When there is any appearance of danger, the wolf trots 
off, and generally makes for unfrequented hilly grounds, and if pursued, 
gallops at a quick pace, almost equal to that of a good horse, as the 


reader will perceive from the following account. On the lflth of July 
lSt3, whilst we were on a Buffalo hunt near the banks of the Yel- 
low Stone river, and all eyes were bent upon the hills and the prairie, 
which is very broad, we saw a wolf about a quarter of a mile from 
our encampment, and Mr. Owen McKenzie was sent after it. The wolf 
however ran very swiftly ami was not overtaken and shot until it had 
ran several miles. It dodged about in various directions, and at one 
time, got out of sight, behind the hills. This wolf was captured, and 
a piece of its flesh was boiled for supper; but as we had in the mean 
time caught about eighteen or twenty Cat-fish, we had an abundant 
meal and did not. judge for ourselves whether the wolf was good eating 
or not, or if its flesh was like that of the Indian dogs, which we have 
had several opportunities of tasting. 

Wolves are frequently deterred from feeding on animals shot by 
the hunters on the prairies, who, aware of the cautious and timid cha- 
racter of these rapacious beasts, attach to the game tiny are obliged 
to leave behind them a part of their clothing, a handkerchief. &r.,or scat- 
ter gun powder around the carcass, which the cowardly animals dare not 
approach although they will watch it for hours at a time, and as soon as 
the hunter returns and takes out the entrails of the game he had left 
thus protected, and carries oil* tin- pieces he wishes, leaving the coarser 
parts for the benefit of these hungry animals, they come forward and 
enjoy the feast. The hunters who occasionally assisted us when we 
were at Fort Union, related numerous stratagems of this kind to which 
they had resorted to keep oil" the wolves when on a hunt. 

The wolves of the prairies form burrows, wherein they brim: forth 
their young, and which have more than one entrance ; they produce 
from six lo eleven at a birth, of which there are very seldom two 
alike in colour. The wolf lives to a great age and does not change 
its colour with increase of years. 


This variety of wolf is found as far north in the Arctic regions of 
America as they have been traversed by man. The journals of Hearne, 
Franklin, Sabine Richardson, and others, abound with accounts of their 
presence amid the snows of the polar regions. They exist in the colder 
parts of Canada, in the Russian possessions on the western coast of 
America, in Oregon, and along both sides of the Rocky .Mountains, to 
California Oil the west side- and Arkansas on the east. We examined 
a specimen of the White Wolf killed in Erie county, N. Y.. about forty 
vol.ii. — 21. 


years ago ; on the Atlantic coast they do not appear ; although we 
have seen some specimens of a light grey colour they could not when 
compared with those of Missouri, be called white wolves. 


Cold seems necessary to produce the Wolves of white variety. Alpine 
regions from their altitudes effect the same change. Regnard informs 
us that in Lapland, Wolves are almost all of a whitish grey colour— there 
are some of them white. In Siberia, wolves assume the same colour. 
The Alps, on the other hand, by their elevation, may be compared to 
the regions around the Rocky Mountains of America. In both countries 
wolves become white. We devoted some hours to comparing the large 
American, European, and Asiatic Wolves, assisted by eminent British 
Naturalists, in the British Museum and the Museum of the Zoological 
Society. We found specimens from the Northern and Alpine regions of 
both continents bore a strong resemblance to each other in form and 
size, their shades of colour differed only in different specimens from 
either country, and we finally came to the conclusion that the naturalist 
who should be able to find distinctive characters to separate the wolves 
into different species, should have credit for more penetration than we 


» \ 


GENUS OVIS. — Linn., Briss., Erxleben, Cuv., Bodd., Geoff. 

. 0—0 6—6 

Incisive - ; Canine — ; Motor — = 32. 

8 0—0 6—6 

Horns common to both sexes, sometimes wanting in the. females, they 
are voluminous, more or less angular, transversely wrinkled, turned 
laterally in spiral directions, and enveloping an osseous arch, cellu- 
lar in structure. 

They have do lachrymal sinus, no true beard to the chin, the fe- 
males have two mamms; tail, rather short; ears, small, erect: 1< 
rather slender; hair, of two kinds, one hard and close, the other wool- 
ly; gregareous. Habit analogous to the goats. Inhabit the highest 
mountains of the t<>ur quarters of the globe. 

The generic name is derived from the latin Oris — a shop. 

There arc tour well determined species, one the Mounon of Blffon, 
Musmon (Oris Wusmon) is received as the parent of the domesticated 
races- It is found in Corsica. Sardinia) and the highest mountain chains 
of Europe. One inhabiting the mountains and steppes of northern A 
Tartary, Siberia and the Kurile Islands, one the mountains ol Egypt, 
and one America. 


Rocky Mountain Sheep. 
PLATE LXXIII. Male and Female. 

O. cornibus crnssissimis spiralibus; corpore gracile ; artubus elevatis ; 
pilo brevi rigido rudi badio ; clunibus a Ibis o ariete major ; rufo cinereus. 


Longer than the domestic sheep, horns of the male long, strong and tri- 
angular, those of the female compressed; colour deep rufous grey, a large. 
white disk on the rump. 



Akgali, Cook's third voyage in 1778. 
Wild Sheep of California. Venegus. 

" " " Clavigero. 

White Buffalo, McKenzie voy. p. 76. An. 1789. 
Mountain Goat, Umfreville, Hudson's Bay. p. 164. 
Mountain Ram, McGillivary, N. York. Med. Reposit. vol. 6. p. 238. 
Big Horn, Lewis and Clark, vol. 1. p. 144. 
Belier Sauvage d'AMERiQUE. Geoff, An. du. mus. t. 2. pi. 60. 
Rocky Mountain Sheep. Warden. U. S. vol. 1. p. 217. 
Moufflon d'AMERiQUE. Desm. Mamm. p. 487. 
Big Horned Sheep. (Ord.) 

" " Blainv. in Jour, de Physic. 1817. 

Ovis Ammon. Harlan. Fauna, p. 259. 
The Argali, Godm. Nat. Hist. vol. 2. p. 329. 
Ovis Montana. Richardson. F. B. Amer. p. 271. 
Ovis Pygarjas var ovis ammon. Griffith An. King. Spec. 873. 


Male. This is a much larger animal than any variety of our largest 
sized sheep. It is also considerably larger than the Argali on the east- 
ern continent. 

The horns of the male are of immense size. They arise immediately 
above the eyes, and occupy nearly the whole head, they being only 
separated from each other by a space of three-fourths of an inch at 
the base. They form a regular curve, first backwards, then downwards 
and outward — the extremities being eighteen inches apart. They are 
flattened on the sides and deeply corrugated, the horns rising immedi- 
ately behind. 

The ears, are short and oval, clothed with hair on both surfaces. The 
general form of the animal is rather elegant, resembling the stag more 
than the Sheep. The tail is short. 

The hair bears no resemblance to wool, but is similar to that of 
the American Elk and Reindeer. It is coarse, but soft to the touch, 
and slightly crimped throughout its whole length ; the hairs on the 
back are about two inches in length, those on the sides one and a 
half inches. At the roots of these hairs, especially about the 
shoulders and sides of the neck, a small quantity of short soft fur is per- 
ceptible. The legs are covered with short compact hairs. 

The female Rocky Mountain Sheep resembles some of the finest spe- 
cimens of the common Ram. Its neck is a little longer, as are also the 
head and legs, and in consequence it stands much higher. Its horns 



resemble more those of the goat than of the Sheep, in fact, whilst the 
fine erect body of the male reminds us of a large deer with the head 
of a ram, the female looks like a fine specimen of the antelope. The 
horns bend backwards and a little outwards, and are corrugated from 
the roots to near the points. Tail very short and pointed, covered with 
short hairs. Mammae two ventral. 


The whole upper surface of the body, outer surface of the thighs, 
legs, sides and under the throat, light greyish brown, forehead and ears 
a little lighter. Rump, under the belly and inner surface of hind legs, 
greyish white ; the front legs, instead of being darker on the outside 
ami lighter on the inside, are darker in front, the dark extending round 
to the inside of the legs, and covering nearly a third of the inner sur- 
face. Tail and hoofs black. A narrow dorsal line from the neck to 
near the rump, conspicuous in the male, but comparatively quite ob- 
scure in the female. RtCHABDBOM states that the old males are almost 
totally white in spring. 


Male figure in our plate. 

Length ..... 

Height at shoulder 

Length of tail .... 

Girth of body behind the shoulders 

Height to rump .... 

Length of horn around the curve 

Do. of eye .... 

Weight 3 11 lbs. including horns. 

Female figure in our plate. 

Nose to root of tail .... 


Height of rump .... 

Girth back of shoulders 

Horns — 44$ lbs. 

Weight 240 lbs. (Killed July 3d, 1843.) 


in. ha 





















It was on the 12th of June, 1843, that we first saw this remarkable 
animal ; we were near the confluence of the Yellow Stone river with 


the Missouri, when a group of them, numbering twenty-two in all, came 
in sight. This flock was composed of rams and ewes, with only one young 
one or lamb among them. They scampered up and down the hills much 
in the manner of common sheep, but notwithstanding all our anxious 
efforts to get within gun-shot, we were unable to do so, and were obliged 
to content ourselves with this first sight of the Rocky Mountain Ram. 

The parts of the country usually chosen by these animals for their 
pastures, are the most extraordinary broken and precipitous clay hills 
or stony eminences that exist in the wild regions belonging to the 
Rocky Mountain chain. They never resort to the low lands or plains 
except when about to remove, their quarters, or swim across rivers, 
which they do well and tolerably fast. Perhaps some idea of the 
country they inhabit (which is called by the French Canadians and 
hunters, "mauvaise terres") may be formed by imagining some hun- 
dreds of loaves of sugar of different sizes, irregularly broken and trun- 
cated at top, placed somewhat apart, and magnifying them into hills 
of considerable size. Over these hills and ravines the Rocky Moun- 
tain Sheep bound up and down among the sugar loaf shaped peaks, 
and you may estimate the difficulty of approaching them, and con- 
ceive the great activity and sure-footedness of this species, which, 
together with their extreme wildness and keen sense of smell, enable 
them to baffle the most vigorous and agile hunter. 

They form paths around these irregular clay cones that are at times 
from six to eight hundred feet high, and in some situations are even 
fifteen hundred feet or more above the adjacent prairies, and along these 
they run at full speed, while to the eye of the spectator below, these 
tracks do not appear to be more than a few inches wide, although they 
are generally from a foot to eighteen inches in breadth. In many 
places columns or piles of clay, or hardened earth, are to be seen eight 
or ten feet above the adjacent surface, covered or coped with a slaty flat 
rock, thus resembling gigantic toad stools, and upon these singular places 
the big horns are frequently seen, gazing at the hunter who is winding 
about far below, looking like so many statues on their elevated pedestals. 
One cannot imagine how these animals reach these curious places, es- 
pecially with their young along with them, which are sometimes brought 
forth on these inaccessible points, beyond the reach of their greatest 
enemies, the wolves, which prey upon them whenever they stray into 
the plains below. 

The " mauvaise terres" are mostly formed of greyish white clay, very 
sparsely covered with small patches of thin grass, on which the Rocky 
Mountain Sheep feed. In wet weather it is almost impossible for any 


man to climb up one of those extraordinary conical hills, as they arc slip- 
pery, greasy and treacherous. Often when .1 big horn is seen on the top of 
a hill, the hunter has to ramble round three or four miles before he can 
reach a position within gun-shot of the same, and if perceived by the 
animal, it is useless for him to pursue him any further that day. 
The tups of some of the hills in the "mauvaise terres" are composed 

of a conglo rated mass of stones, sand, clay and various coloured 

earths, frequently of the appearance and colour of bricks. We also 
observed in these masses a quantity of pumice stone, and these hills, 
we are inclined to think are the result of volcanic action. Their bases 
often cover an area of twenty acres : there are regular horizontal 
strata running across the whole chain of these hills, composed of different 
coloured clay, coal and earth, mere or less impregnated with salt and other 
minerals, and occasionally intermixed with lava, sulphur, oxide and sulphate 

of iron: and in the sandy parts a1 the top of the highest hills, we found 
shells, but so soft and crumbling as to fall to pieces when we attempted 
to pick them out We found in the "mauvaise terres," also, globular 
shaped masses of heavy stone and pieces of petrified wood, from frag- 
ments two or three inches wide, to slumps of three or four feet 1 hick. 
apparently cotton wood and cedar. On the sides of some of the hills 
at various heights, are shell-like ledues or rock projecting from the 
surface in a level direction, from two to six and even ten feet, gene- 
rally square or flat. These ledges are much resorted to by the bighorns dur- 
ing the heat of the day. Between these hills there is sometimes a growth 
of Stunted cedar trees, underneath which there is a fine sweel grass, and 
on the summits in some eases a short dry wiry grass is found, and quanti- 
ties of that pest of the Upper Missouri country, the Hat-broad-leaved Cac- 
tus, the spines of which often lame the hunter. Occasionally the hills 
in the "mauvaise terres" are separated by numerous ravines, often 
not more ihan ten or fifteen feet wide, but sometimes from ten to fifty feel 
deep, and now and then the hunter comes to the brink of one so deep and 
wide as to make his head giddy as lie looks down into the abyss below. 
Tin- edges of the canons (as these sort of channels are called in .Mexico) 
are overgrown with hushes, wild cherries. &C., and here and there the Bison 
will manage to cut paths to cross them, descending in an oblique and zis- 
zatr direction : these paths however are rarely found except where the ra- 
vine is of great length, and in general the only mode of crossing the ravine 
is to go along the margin of it until you come to the head, which is gen- 
erally at the base of some hill, and thus get round. 

These ravines exisl between nearly every two neighbouring bills, al- 
though there are occasionally places where three or more hills form only ■ 


All of them however run to meet each other and connect with the largest, the 
size of which bears its proportion to that of its tributaries and their number. 

Where these ravines have no outlet into a spring or water course they 
have subterranean drains, and in some of the valleys and even on the tops 
of the hills, there are cavities called "sink holes ;" the earth near these 
holes is occasionally undermined by the water running round in circles un- 
derneath, leaving a crust insufficient to bear the weight of a man, and 
when an unfortunate hunter treads on the deceitful surface it gives way, 
and he finds himself in an unpleasant and at times dangerous predicament. 
These holes sometimes gradually enlarge and run into ravines below them. 
It is almost impossible to traverse the " mauvaise terres" with a horse, un- 
less with great care, and with a thorough knowledge of the country. The 
chase or hunt after the big horn, owing to the character of the country, (as 
we have described it,) is attended with much danger, as the least slip 
might precipitate one headlong into the ravine below, the sides of the hills 
being destitute of every thing to hold on by excepting a projecting stone 
or tuft of worm wood, scattered here and there, without which even the 
most daring hunter could not ascend them. 

In some cases the water has washed out caves of different shapes and 
sizes, some of which present the most, fantastic forms and are naked and 
barren to a great degree. The water that is found in the springs in these 
broken lands is mostly impregnated with salts, sulphur, magnesia, &c. ; but 
unpleasant as it tastes, it is frequently the only beverage for the hunter, 
and lucidly is often almost as cold as ice, which renders it less disagree- 
able. In general this water has the effect very soon of a cathartic and 
emetic. Venomous snakes of various kinds inhabit the "mauvaise terres," 
but we saw only one copper-head. 

Conceiving that a more particular account of these countries may be 
interesting, we will here insert a notice of them given to us by Mr. 
Dewey, the principal clerk at Fort Union. He begins as follows : 

•' This curious country is situated, or rather begins half way up White 
river, and runs from south east to north west for about sixty miles in 
length, and varying from fifteen to forty miles in width. It touches the 
head of the Teton river and branches of Chicune, and joins the Black Hills 
at the south fork of the latter river. The hills are in some places five 
or six hundred yards high and upwards. They are composed of clay of va- 
rious colours, arranged in layers or strata running nearly horizontally, 
each layer being of a different colour, white, red, blue, green, black, 
yellow, and almost every other colour, appearing at exactly the same 
height on every hill. 

" From the quantity of pumice stone and melted ores found throughout 



them, one might suppose that they had been reduced to this state by vol- 
canic action. From the head of the Teton river, to cross these hills to White 
river is about fifteen miles ; there is but one place to descend, and the road 
is not known ; the only way to proceed is to go round the end of them on 
the banks of the White river, and following that stream ascend to the de- 
sired point. In four day's march a man will make about fifteen miles in 
crossing through the "mauvaise terres." At first sight these hills look like 
some ancient city in ruins, and but little imagination is necessary to give 
them the appearance of castles, walls, towers, steeples, tec. The descent 
is by a road about five feet broad, winding around and among the hills, 
made at first probably by the bisons and the big horn sheep, and now- 
rendered practicable by the Indians and others who have occasion to use 
it. It is however too steep to travel down with a loaded horse or mule, 
say about one foot in three, for a mile or so, after which the bases of 
the hills are about level with each other, but the valleys between them are 
cut up by great ravines in almost every direction from tiw to twenty and 
even fifty tret deep." 

•' In going over this part of the country great precaution is necessary, for 
a slip of the foot would precipitate either man or horse into the gulf below. 
When I descended, the interpreter, B. Dauinine. a half breed, (having his 
eves bandaged) was led by the hand of an Indian." Something like cop- 
peras in taste and appearance is found in large quantities, as well as pumice 
stone, every where. This country is the principal residence of the big horn 
sheep, the panther and grizzly bear; big horns especially are numerous, 
bring in bands of from twenty to thirty, and are frequently seen at the 
tops of the highest peaks, completely inaoeessible to any other animal. 
There is but one step from the prairie to the barren clay, and this step 
mirks the difference for nearly its whole length. These "mauvaise terns" 
have no connexion or affinity to the surrounding country, but are, as it 
were, set apart for the habitation of the big horns and bears. The sight ot 
this barren country causes one to think that thousands of square miles of 
earth have been carried off", and nothing left behind but the ruins of what 
was once a beautiful range of mountains. The principal part of these 
hills is white clay, which when wet is soft and adhesive, but the coloured 
strata are quite hard and are never discoloured by the rain, at least not to 
any extent, tor after a hard rain the streams of water are of a pure milk 
white colour, untinged by any other, and so thick that ten gallons when 
settled will only yield about two gallons of pure limpid water, which, how- 
ever, although clear when allowed to stand awhile, is scarcely drinkable, 
beins; salt and sulphurous in taste. The sediment has all the appearance 
of the clay already mentioned, which is nearly as white as chalk. There 
VOL. II. — 12. 



is only one place where wood and pure sweet water can be found in the 
whole range, which is at a spring nearly in the centre of the tract, and one 
day's journey from the White river, towards the Chicune. This appears a 
little singular, for if it were not for this the voyageur would be obliged to 
take a circuitous route of from four to five days. This spring is surrounded 
by a grove of ash trees, about two hundred yards in circumference. It 
immediately loses itself in the clay at the edge of the timber, and near 
the spring the road descends about sixty feet and runs through a sort of 
avenue at least half a mile wide, on each side of which are walls of clay 
extending horizontally about fifteen miles, and eighty feet high, for nearly 
the whole distance. Between these walls are small sugar-loaf shaped 
hills, and deep ravines, such as I have already described. The colours of 
the strata are preserved throughout. The principal volcano is the "Cote 
de tonnerre," from the mouth of which smoke and fire are seen to issue 
nearly at all times. In the neighbourhood and all around, an immense quan- 
tity of pumice stone is deposited, and from the noises to be heard, no doubt 
whatever exists that eruptions may from time to time be expected. There 
is another smaller hill which I saw giving forth heated vapours and smoke, 
but in general if the weather is clear the summits of the Black hills are 
obscured by a mist, from which circumstance many superstitions of the 
Indians have arisen. The highest of the Black hills are fully as high as 
the Alleghany mountains, and their remarkable shapes and singular cha- 
racters deserve the attention of our geologists, especially as it is chiefly 
among these hills that fossil petrefactions are abundantly met with. 

The Rocky Mountain Sheep are gregarious, and the males fight fiercely 
with each other in the manner of common rams. Their horns are exceed- 
ingly heavy and strong, and some that we have seen have a battered ap- 
pearance, showing that the animal to which they belonged must have but- 
ted against rocks or trees, or probably had fallen from some elevation on to 
the stony surface below. We have heard it said that the Rocky Moun- 
tain Sheep descend the steepest hills head foremost, and they may thus 
come in contact with projecting rocks, or fall from a height on their enor- 
mous horns. 

As is the case with some animals of the deer tribe, the young rams 

of this species and the females herd together during the winter and spring, 
while the old rams form separate flocks, except during the rutting season 
in December. 

In the months of June and July the ewes bring forth, usually one, and 
occasionally, but rarely, two. 

Dr. Richardson, on the authority of Drummond, states that in the retired 
parts of the mountains where the hunters had seldom penetrated, he 


(Drummond) found no difficulty in approaching the Rocky Mountain Sh< 
which there exhibited the simplicity of character so remarkable in the 
domestic species; but that where they had been often fired at. they were 
exceedingly wild, alarmed their companions on the approach of danger by 
a hissing noise, and scaled the rocks with a speed and agility that baffled 
pursuit He lost several that he had mortally Wounded, by their retir- 
ing to die among the secluded precipices.'* They are. we are farther in- 
formed on the authority of Dbummond, in the habit of paying daily visits to 
certain eaves in the mountains that are encrusted with saline efflorescence. 
The same gentleman mentions that the horns of the old rams attain a 
size so enormous, and curve so much forwards and downwards, that they 
effectually prevent the animal from feeding on the level ground. 

All our travellers who have tasted the flesh of the Rocky Mountain 
Sheep, represent it as very delicious when in season, superior to that of 
any species of deer in the west, and even exceeding in llavour the finest 

We have often been surprised that no living specimen of this very in- 
teresting animal has ever been carried to Europe, or any of our Atlantic 
cities, where it would bean object of great interest. 


This animal is found, according to travellers, as far to the North as [at 
158, and inhabits the whole chain of the Rocky Mountains on their highesl 
peaks down to California. It does not exist at Hudson's Bay, nor has it 
been found to the eastward of the Rocky Mountain chain 


The history of the early discovery of this species, of specimens transmitted 
lo Europe from time to time, obtained in latitudes widely removed from 
each other, of its designation under various names, and of the figures, some 
of which were very unnatural, that have been driven of it. are not only in- 
teresting but full of perplexity. It appears to have been known to Father 
PlCOLO, the lirst Catholic missionary to California, as early as 1697, who 
represents it as large as a calf of one or two years old : its head much like 
that of a stag, and its horns, which are very large, are like those of a ram: 
its fail and hair are speckled and shorter than a stag's, but its hoof is large, 
round, and cleft as an ox's. 1 have eaten of these beasts: their flesh is 
very tender and delicious." The Californian Sheep is also mentioned by 
Hernandez, Clavioero, and other writers on California. Vanegas has 
given an imperfect figure Of it, which was for a long time regarded a- tin 



Siberian Argali. Mr. David Douglass, in the Zoological Journal, in April, 
1829, describes a species under the name of Ovis Calif ornica, which he 
supposed to be the sheep mentioned by Picolo. Cook, in his third voyage 
evidently obtained the skin of the Rocky Mountain Sheep on the north 
west coast of America. Mr. McGillivery, in 1823, presented to the 
New- York Museum a specimen of this animal, and published an account 
of it in the Medical Repository of New- York. This specimen being after- 
wards sent to France, a description and figure of it were published. Lewis 
and Clark, some years afterwards, brought male and female specimens to 
Philadelphia, which were figured by Griffith and Godman. 

Several eminent naturalists, and among the rest Baron Cuvier, consider- 
ed it the same as Ovis Ammon, supposing it to have crossed Behring's Straits 
on the ice. We have never had an opportunity of comparing the two spe- 
cies, but have examined them separately. Our animal is considerably the 
largest, and diners widely in the curvature of its horns from those of the 
eastern continent. We have no doubt of its being a distinct species 
from Ovis Ammon. 

We doubt moreover, whether Ovis Californica will be found distinct from 
Ovis Montana ; the climate in those elevated regions is every where cold. 
There are no intermediate spaces where the northern species ceases to 
exist, and the southern to commence, and when we take into consideration 
the variations of colour in different individuals, as also in the same indi- 
vidual in summer and winter, we should pause before we admit Ovis Cal- 
ifornica as a true species. We have therefore added this name as a 
synonyme of Ovis Montana. 




Brewer's Shrew Mole. 


S. lanugiiie sericea, vellus obscure cinereo nigricans subtus fuscescens, 
palmcc anguste, cauda depressa, latus pilis hirsuta. 

CHARACTERS. black abovr, brownish beneath, palms narrow, toil flat, 
broail and /miry. 

2 19 8 

Teeth, Incisive - ; false molars — : true molars - = 44. 

The head of Scalops Breweri is narrower and more elongated than thai 
of Sc. Aquations. The cerebral portion of the skull is less voluminous, tlio 
inter-orbital portion is narrower, eacli of the intermaxillary bones in &. 
Aguaticus throws out a process, which projects upwards and forms the 
upper boundary of the nasal cavity, and very slightly separated by the 
nasal bones, whilst in Sc, Breweri these processes are shorter and scarcely 
project upwards above the plane of the nasal bone. Thus when we view 
the snout of Sc. Aquaticus, laterally, it is distinctly recurved at the tip. 
whereas in Sc. Breweri the upper surface is almost plain. But the most 
striking difference between these skulls is exhibited in the dentition, inas- 
much as, in our present species, there are altogether forty-four teeth, in 
Sc. Aquaticus there are but thirty-six. Thus in the number of teeth Sc. 
Breweri resembles Sc. Ibwnsendi. 

The body of Brewer's Shrew Mole is perhaps a little larger than that of 
Sc. Aquaticus. Its snout is less flattened and narrower ; its nostrils, instead 
of being inserted in a kind of boutir, as in the European Talpa, and the 
swine, or on the upper surface of the muzzle, as in the common shrew 
mole, are placed on each side, near the extremities of the nose. This 
species is pentadactylous, like all the rest of the genus, claws longer, thin- 
ner and sharper than the common shrew mole. Palm much narrower Its 
most striking peculiarity, however, is its tail, which, instead of being round 



and nearly naked, like that of Sc. Aquaticus, is flat and broad, resembling 
in some respects that of the Beaver, and is very thickly clothed, above and 
beneath, with long stiff hairs, which extend five lines beyond the vertebrae. 

The colour, above and beneath, is a glossy cinereous black, like velvet ; 
precisely similar to that of the European mole (Talpa Enropea) with 
which we compared it. Under the throat there is a slight tinge of brown, 
the tail is ashy brown above, light beneath. The ewe is about one-third 
longer than that of the common shrew mole. 










Length of the head and body 

Tail vertebrae 

Do. including fur 

Breadth of tail 

Do. of palm 

Length of do to end of middle claw 

In the Museum of the Zoological Society of London there is a specimen 
obtained from the United States, which evidently is the same species. 
It is marked in the printed catalogue No. 145, "&c. Breweri Bachman's 
M. SS." It however differs in having the far more compact, and shorter, 
the colour somewhat darker, and in fact almost black. The hairs of 
the tail, instead of being brownish ash colour, are black, and the hind feet, 
instead of being covered above with brownish white hairs, as in our 
specimens, are brownish black. 


Sc. Aquaticus 
S. Townsendi 
S. Breweri 


1 4 

1 7J 

1 3 


8 7 

9* 8i 

7* oi 


In a collection of the smaller rodentia procured for us in New England 
by our friend Thomas M. Brewer, Esq. an intelligent naturalist, we were 
surprised and gratified at finding this new species of shrew mole ; the spe- 
cimen having been obtained by Dr. L. M. Yale, at Martha's Vineyard, an 
island on the coast of New England. In its habits it approaches much 



nearer the star-nosed mole (Gondylura cristata) than any species of shrew 
mole. Its burrows are neither as extensive or so near the surface of the 
earth as those of the common shrew mole. We observed thai the meadows 
in the valleys of Virginia, where this species is found, seldom exhibited any 
traces of their galleries, which are so conspicuous where the common spe- 
eies exists. We only possessed one opportunity of seeing this species alive. 
It ran across the public road near the red sulphur springs in Virginia ; in 
its mode of progression it reminded us of the hurried, irregular and awkward 
manners of the common shrew mole. It had. as we ascertained, pursued its 
course underground, at about live inches from the surface, until it reached 
the trodden and firm gravelly road, which it attempted to cross and was 
captured. It evidenced no disposition to bite. From the fact of our ha\ 
seen three specimens, which were accidentally procured in a week, we 
were led to suppose that it was ,|uite common in that vicinity. We have 
not found its nest, and regret that we have nothing farther to add in regard 
to its habits. 


Our first specimen, as we have state,!, was received from Martha's Vine- 
yard. Our friend, the late Dr. Wriqht, procured four specimens in the vi- 
cinity of Troy, \. Y. We obtained specimens in Western Virginia. It no 
doubt exists in all the intermediate country. 


We suspect that this species has hitherto been overlooked in consequence 
of its having been blended with the common shrew mole. We observed 
two specimens in the museum of the Zoological Society, London, origi- 
nally marked "Talpa Europea from America." On examining them, 
however, we found them of this species. 



Carolina Shrew. Males and Females. 


S. carolinensis, corpore gnseo — cinerascente ; cauda brevis, depressa. 


Carolina Shrew, with a short fiat tail; ears not visible; body of a nearly 
uniform iron grey colour. 


Intermediary incisors 

7 • ■ 5 ~ S %r 7 5 -> 5 

Lateral incisors — ; Molars, — = 34. 

2-2 ' 3-3 

The four front teeth are yellowish white, with their points deeply tinged 
with chesnut brown ; all the rest are brown, a little lighter near the sockets. 
The upper intermediary incisors have each, as is the case in most other 
species of this genus, an obtuse lobe, which gives them the appearance 
of having a small tooth growing out from near the roots. The three late- 
ral incisors are largest; the posterior ones very small ; the first and fifth 
grinders are the smallest ; the other three nearly equal. In the lower jaw 
the two first teeth are lobed ; the lateral incisors are comparatively large, 
and crowded near the grinders. The molars are bristled with sharp points 
except the last, which is a tuberculous tooth. 

The muzzle is moderately long and slender, and pointed with a naked 
deep lobed lip. The whiskers are composed of hairs apparently all white, 
a few of those situated in front of the eyes extending to the occiput, the rest 
rather short. There are no visible ears, even where the fur is removed ; 
the auditory opening is an orifice situated far back on the sides of the head 
running obliquely. The orifice of the eye is so small that it can only be 
discovered by the aid of a good magnifying glass. The tail is flat, thickly 
covered with a coat of close hair, and terminated by a small pencil of 
hairs. The fore feet are rather broad for this genus, measuring a line and 
a half in breadth, resembling in some respects those of the shrew mole, 
(Scalops canadensis.) The toes are five, the inner a little shorter than the 



\v. 177 

outer one; the third and fourth nearly equal. The nails are sharp, rather 
long, a little arched, bu( not hooked. The hind feel are more slender than 
the fore ones : naked beneath, and covered above, as are also the lore fi 
by a thin coal of short adpressed hai 

The fur presents the beautiful velvet) ace common to most. 

species of this genus. The colour of the whole body is nearly uniform, 
considerably lustrous on the upper surface, and inmost lights dark iron 
gray, rather darker about tl on the under surface tlm fur is of nearly 

the same general appearance, but is a shade lighter. 


ngth of body ... .3 

of tail 

of head I 

of palm to die end of nails 
" of bind feel * 


It is difficult to know much of the habits of the little quadrupeds com- 
posing this genus. Living beneath tin- surface of the earth, feeding princi- 
pally on worms and the larvae of insects, shunning the lisrhr. and restricted 
to a little world of their own. best suited to their habits and enjoyments, 
they almost present a barrier to the pryinsr curiosity of man. They are 
occasionally turned up by the plough on the plantations of the south, when 
they utter a faint, squeaking cry. like younsr mice, and make awkward and 
scrambling attempts to escape, trying to conceal themselves in any tuft of 
crass, or under the first clod of earth that may present itself. On two 
occasions, their small but compact nests were brousrht to us. They were 
composed of fibres of roots and withered blades of various kinds of irrasses. 
They had been ploughed up from about a foot beneath the surface of the 
earth, and contained in one nest five, and in the other six younsr. In 
digging ditches, and ploughing in moderately high grounds, small holes 
are frequently seen running in all directions, in a line nearly parallel with 
the surface, and extending to a srroat distance, evidently made by this spe- 
cies. We observed on the sides of one of these srallories. a small cavity 
containing a hoard of coleopterous insects, principally composed of a. rare 
species (Scarabceus tityus), fully the size of the animal itself: some of them 
were nearly consumed, and the rest mutilated, although still livinsr. 



This quadruped is found in various localities, both in the upper and 
maritime districts of South Carolina. We recently received specimens from 
our friend Dr. Barrett, of Abbeville District ; and we have been informed 
by Dr. Pickering, to whose inspection we submitted a specimen, and who 
pronounced it undoubtedly an undescribed species, that it had been observed 
as far north as Philadelphia. 













' * 



Moose Deer. 

PLATE LXXVL Old Male and Youbg. 

C. magnitudine Equi : capite permagno, labro auribusqae elongatis ; 
collo brevi, dense jubato, cornibus palmatis, cauda brevissima, vellere 
fusco cinereo, in nigrum vergente. 


Size of a horse. Head, very large ; snout and cars. long : inch, short, 
villi a thick mane. Horns spreading into a broad palm. Tail, short. 
( 'olour, blackish-gray. 


Elan, Stag, or h De Monte Nova Francia, p. '-i.">0. *jl 1604 

Esi \s oi Orinal. Bagard-Theodat, Canada, p. 749. An. 1636. 
,i . La Hontan, \ 03 ., p. ~~. An. 1703. 

Moose I Dudley, PhiL Trans. No. 368, p. 165. U. 1721, 

Orinal. Charlevoix. Nouv. France. Vol. \.. p. 185. in. 1741. 

" Dupratz, I •■ \ 61. i., p. 301. 
Moose Deer, Pennant, Arct Zool Vol.i., p. 17. Pig. 1784. 
Moose. UmfrevLUe, Huds. Bay. An. 1790. 

Eerriot'a Travels, 1807, Fig. 
( '. m oes. 1 larlan. Fauna, p. 229, 

" Godman; Lm, Nat Hist.. Vol. ii.. p. 274. 
Tin-. Elk. Hamilton Smith. 

Griffith's Guv., Vol. v., p. 303. 
Avers in Black Elk. Griffith's Cuv., Vol. iv., p. 72., plate of head. 
Elk. In Nova Scotia, proceedings of the Zoological Society, 1*49, p. 93. 
Chrvub alces. Do Kay, N. Hist. N. Y„ p. 115. 


This is the largest of any known species of deer. Major Smith (Cm. 
An. Kingdom, by Griffiths, Vol. iv,, p. 73) says. "For us, who have the oppor- 
' " ; «v of receiving the animal in all the glory of his full grown horns, 


amid the scenery of his own wilderness, no animal could appear more 
majestic or more imposing." Having ourselves on one occasion been favour- 
ed with a similar opportunity, when we had the gratification of bringing 
one down with a rifle and of examining him in detail as he lay before us, 
we confess he appeared awkward in his gait, clumsy and disproportioned 
in limbs, uncouth and inelegant in form, and possessing less symmetry 
and beauty than any other species of the deer family. His great 
size, enormous head, and face like a horse, and the thundering noise of 
the saplings bending and snapping around him as he rattled over the fallen 
logs, was to us the only imposing part of the spectacle. To do justice, 
however, to the description of the moose, by Smith, who was a close 
observer and a naturalist of considerable attainments, we should quote 
his succeeding observations : " It is, however, the aggregate of his appear- 
ance which produces this effect ; for when the proportions of its structure 
are considered in detail, they certainly will seem destitute of that harmony 
of parts which in the imagination produces the feeling of beauty." 

The head forcibly reminds us of that of an enormous jackass ; it is long 
narrow and clumsily shaped, by the swelling on the upper part of the 
nose and nostrils ; the snout is long and almost prehensile — the muzzle 
extending four inches beyond the lower lip. The nostrils are narrow and 
long, five inches in length. The eye is deep-seated, and in proportion to the 
large head is small. The ears are long, 14 inches, heavy and asinine. 
The neck is very short, and is surmounted by a compact mane of moderate 
length composed of coarse rigid hairs. There is in both sexes a tuft 
of coarse hairs, resembling hog's bristles, beneath the throat, which is 
attached to a pendulous gland, more conspicuous in young than in 
old animals ; this gland with the attached hair is ten inches long. 
The horns, which are found only on the males, are, when a year old, merely 
short knobs ; they increase in size after each annual shedding, and after 
the fourth year become palmated, and may be termed full grown about the 
fifth year. The palms on the horns of the Moose are on the widest part on 
a moderate-sized male about 1 1 inches wide. The space between the roots, 
6-| inches ; greatest breadth at the root, 6^ inches ; from the root to the 
extremity, measuring around the curve, 2 feet 10 inches. The first branch 
or prong on the inner side of the horn commences nine inches from the base. 
It here divides into two branches, one being ten and the other eleven in- 
ches in length, measuring in a curve from the root to the largest point 25 
inches. These two prongs on each side incline forward, are almost round, 
and are pointed like those of elk horns. The palms on the main branches 
of the horns not only differ in different individuals, but do not often cor- 
respond on the head of the same animal. In the specimen from which 

moose Di'.i'.i; i8] 

we are describing, the Lower and longest point, on the palm is on one side 
12 inches, and on the corresponding our on the opposite side only 4 inches; 
on the remainder of the palm there are on one side six points, on the other 
Seven : the palm is about hall'-an-ineh in breadth at the centre, thickening 
towards the base to one inch. 

The horns are irregularly and slightly channelled, and are covered with 
whitish marks on the front surface, somewhat resembling the channels and 
irregular windings of grubs or sawyers between the bark and wood in 
old decayed trunks of trees; on the posterior surface these marks in 
form bear considerable resemblance to veins in the leaves of ferns. The 
width across the horns measuring from the outer tips rises 3 feet 4 inches : 
weighl of the horns. 12 pounds. 

The nose, including the nostrils, is thicklj clothed with short hair — a tri- 
angular spol on the nose bare. The hair on the mane is coarse ami compact, 
10 inches in length : both surfaces of the cars are covered with dense hairs. 

The outer hair is throughout coarse and angular : it is longer on tin- neck 

and shoulders than on any other part of the body: under these long hairs 
there is a shorter, woolly, more dense and liner coat. 


The teeth are white : horns brownish yellow, the extremities of 
the prongs becoming yellowish white. The eyes are black ; nose, fore- 
head and upper lip, yellowish lawn j inner surface of ears, yellowish white ; 

outer surface, grayish brown. Sides of head, yellowish brown. On the 
neck, dark grayish brown, composed of hairs that are white, black and yel- 
low : under the chin, yellowish brown. 1 lairs on the appendage under the 
throat, black : lower lip and chin, dark u ray. formed of a mixture of white 
and black hairs : the softer, shorter hairs on the body are ashy gray : the 
long hairs when examined separately an- whitish at tlir base, then cinere- 
ous and tipped with black, giving it a brownish black appearance. 

(hi the under surface of the body the colour is considerably lighter than 
on the back, having a tinge of yellowish white; under surface of the tail. 
ashj white. The young animals, for the first winter, are of a reddish 
brown colour: individuals even of the same age often differ in co- 
lour, some being darker than others, hut there is always a striking diffe- 
rence between the summer and winter colours, the hairs in winter be- 
coming darker: as the moose advances in age, the colour continues to 
deepen until it appears black ; thence it was named by Hamilton Smith. 
not inappropriately as regards colour, "the American Black Elk *' 


























From point of nose to root of tail, ... 

Tail (vertebrae), 

Tail to end of hair, --.--- 
From shoulder to point of hoof, 

Height of ear, 

From point of nose to interior canthus of eye, - 
Weight of horns, 50 pounds. 
Weight of the whole animal, from 800 to 1200 pounds. 

Dimensions of a Male procured in Ontario County, N. Y., in 1806. 

Length from point of nose to root of tail, - 

of tail, 

Height at shoulder, 

Width of horns at tip, 

Widest part, 

Weight of horns, 69 pounds. 


We were favoured by Mr. Kendall, of the Literary Society of Quebec, 
with the following account of the Moose Deer, with which we will begin 
our article on this noble quadruped. 

" The Moose are abundant to the north of Quebec and in the northern 
parts of the state of Maine. In the neighbourhood of Moose River and the 
lakes in its vicinity, they are very abundant. In the summer they are fond 
of frequenting lakes and rivers, not only to escape the attacks of in- 
sects which then molest them, but also to avoid injuring their antlers, 
which during their growth are very soft and exquisitely sensitive, and 
besides, such situations afford them abundance of food. 

■' They there feed on the water-plants, or browse upon the trees fringing 
the shores. In the winter they retire to the dry mountain ridges, and 
generally 'yard', as it is termed, on the side facing the south, where there are 
abundance of maple and other hard- wood trees upon which to feed, either 
by browsing on the tender twigs or peeling the bark from the stems of 
such as are only three or four inches in diameter. Their long, pendu- 
lous upper lip is admirably adapted for grasping and pulling down the 
branches, which are held between the fore legs until all the twigs are 
eaten. They peel off the bark by placing the hard pad on the roof of the 



motitli :)srniiisl the tree, and scraping upwards with their sharp, gou«:c-like 
teeth, completely denuding the tree to the height of seven or eight feet 
from the surface of the snow. They remain near the same spot as long 
as any food can be obtained, seldom breaking fresh snow, but keeping to 
the same tracks as long as possible. 

"The antlers begin to sprout in April, and at first appear like two Mack 
knobs. They complete their growth in .luly. when the skin which covers 
them peels off and leaves them perfectly white ; exposure to the sun and 
air, however, soon renders them brown. When we consider the immi 
size to which some of them grow in such a short period of time, it seems al- 
most incredible that two such enormous excrescences could be deposited 
from the circulating system alone: the daily growth is distinctly marked on 
the velvety covering by a light shade carried around them. The lirst year 
the antlers are only about one inch long; the second year, four or five 
inches, with perhaps the rudiment of a point : the third year about nine 
inches, when each divides into a fork slill round in form : the fourth year 
thej become palmated, with a brow antler and three or four points; the 

fifth season they have two crown antlers and perhaps live points: the 
points increasing in size each year, and one or two points being added 
annually, until the animal arrives at its greatest vigour; after which 
period they decrease in size and the points are not so fully thrown out 
The longest pair 1 ever met with had eighteen points, (others have a en 
them with twenty-three points.) they expanded live feet nine inches to the 
outside of the tips: the breadth of palm, eleven inches without the points ; 
circumference of shaft, clear of the hurr. nine inches; weight, seventy 
pounds ! The old and vigorous animals invariably shed them in December; 
some of four and live years old I have known to carry them as late as 
March, but this is not often the case. 

"The rutting season commences in September : the males then become 
very furious, chasing away the younger and weaker ones. They run bel- 
lowing through the forest, and when two of equal strength meet. hav< 
dreadful conflicts, and do not separate until one or both are severely in- 
jured. 1 bought a pair of antlers from a Penobscot Indian, with one of the 
brow antlers and the adjoining prong broken short off. The parts were 
at least, l£ inches in diameter, and nearly as hard as ivory. At thai 
season they are constantly on the move, swimming larce lakes and crossiim 
rivers in pursuit of the female. 

" The female brings forth in May. The first, time she produces one fawn, 
but ever afterwards two. It is supposed by hunters that these twins are 
always one a male and the other a female. 

In summer the hair of the Moose is short and <:lossv — in winter long and 


very coarse, attached to the skin by a very fine pelicle, and rendered warm 
by a thick coat of short, fine wool. The hair on the face grows upwards 
from the nose, gradually turning and ending in a thick, bushy tuft under the 
jaws. The young males have generally a long, pendulous gland, growing 
from the centre of this tuft, and covered with long hair, sometimes a foot 

" Their flesh is very coarse, though some people prefer it to any other ; 
it is apt to produce dysentery with persons unaccustomed to use it. 
The nose or moufle, as it is generally called, if properly cooked is a very 
delicious morsel. The tongue is also considered a delicacy ; the last entrail 
(called by hunters the bum-gut) is covered with round lumps of suety fat, 
which they strip off and devour as it comes warm from the animal, with- 
out any cooking. Also the marrow warm from the shanks is spread upon 
bread, and eaten as butter. I must confess that the disgusting luxury 
was rather too rich to tempt me to partake of it- I have seen some 
officers of the Guards enjoy it well enough ! 

" The seasons for hunting the Moose are March and September. In 
March, when the sun melts the snow on the surface and the nights are 
frosty, a crust is formed, which greatly impedes the animal's progress, as 
it has to lift its feet perpendicularly out of the snow or cut the skin from 
its shanks by coming in contact with the icy surface. 

" It would be useless to follow them when the snow is soft, as their 
great strength enables them to wade through it without any difficulty. 
If you wish to see them previous to shooting them from their " yard," it is 
necessary to make your approach to leeward, as their sense of smelling 
and hearing is very acute : the crack of a breaking twig will start them, 
and they are seldom seen any more, until fatigue compels them to knock 
up, and thus ends the chase. Their pace is a long trot. It is neces- 
sary to have two or three small curs (the smaller the better), as they can run 
upon the snow without breaking through the crust ; their principal use 
is to annoy the Moose by barking and snapping at their heels, without 
taking hold. A large dog that would take hold would be instantly 
trampled to death. The males generally stop, if pressed, and fight with 
the dogs ; this enables the hunter to come up unobserved and dispatch 
them. Sometimes they are killed after a run of an hour, at other times 
you may run them all day, and have to camp at night without a morsel 
of provisions or a cloak, as everything is let go the moment the Moose 
starts, and you are too much fatigued to retrace your steps to procure 
them. Your only resource is to make a huge fire, and comfort yourself 
upon the prospect of plenty of Moose-meat next day. As soon as the 
animal finds he is no longer pursued, he lies down, and the next morning 


lie will be too stiff to travel far. Generally, a male, female, and two lawns 
are found in a ' yard." 

•• When obliged to run, the male goes first, breaking the way, the others 
treading exactly in bis tracks, so thai you would think only one lias 
passed. Often they run through other •yard-.' when nil join together, 
slill going in Indian file. Sometimes, when meeting with an obstacle they 
cannot overcome, they are obliged to branch off for some distance and 
again unite ; by connecting the different tracks at the place of separation 
you may judge pretty correctly of their number. I have seen twelve 
together, and killed seven of them. 

A method of hunting this animal is as follows : 

"In September, two persons in a bark canoe paddle by moonlight along 
the shore of the lake imitating the call of the male, which, jealous of tin- 
approach of a stranger, answers to the call and rushes down to the com- 
bat. The canoe is paddled by the man in the stern with the most death- 
like silence, gliding along under the shade of the forest until within short 
shooting distance, as it is difficult to take a sure aim by moonlight : the 
in the bow generally fires, when if the animal is only wounded, 
he makes immediately for shore, dashing the water about him into foam: 
he is tracked by his blood the next day to where he has lain down, and w I i 
he is generally found unable to proceed any further. Many are killed in 
this manner in the neighbourhood of Moose River every season. 

Hunters somet imes tind out the beat en tracks of the Moose (generally lead- 
ing to the water), and bend down a sapling and attach to it a strong hempen 
noose hanging across the path, while the tree is confined by another cord and 
a sort oftrigger. Should the animal's head pass through the dangling snare, 
he generally makes a. struggle which disengages the trigger, and tin- tree 
springing upward to its perpendicular, lifts the beast oil" his legs, and he 
is strangled 

Mr. John Marttn, of Quebec, favoured us with the following not 
the .Moose deer: "This animal in the neighbourhood of this city (Quebec) 
is mostly found in the hard woods during the winter. At this season sev- 
eral associate together and form groups of two. three, or four, and make 
what is called 'a yard,' by beating down the snow: and whilst in such 
places they feed on all the branches they can reach, and indeed even strip 
the trees of their bark, after which they are forced to extend their •yards,' 
or remove to some other place, but rather than leave the first, they will 
even break branches as large as a man's thigh. In skinning oil' the bark, 
the animal places its upper lip firmly against it, whether upward, down- 
ward or sideways, and with its teeth, which are all on its lower jaw. 
vol. ii. — 34. 


takes a firm hold and tears it away in strips more or less long and 
broad, according to the nature of the bark of the tree. 

It is ascertained by the hunter whether a Moose has been lately or not in its 
yard, by removing the surface of the snow from around the foot of the trees 
already barked above, and if they have been barked below the surface of the 
snow, the animal has left the spot for sometime, and it is not worth while 
to follow any of its tracks. The contrary, of course, takes place with dif- 
ferent observations. At this season the female is generally accompanied 
by two of her calves, one two years old and generally a bull, the other the 
calf of the preceding spring. 

These animals vary much in their colour, some being grayish 
brown, and others nearly black. The grayish Moose is generally 
the largest, often reaching the height of seven or eight feet. The 
females receive the males in the month of October, and at this period 
the latter are excessively vicious and dangerous when approached, whilst 
the females evince the same fierceness at the time of having calves. In 
some instances during the rutting season, when two males accidentally 
meet, they fight prodigiously hard, tearing up the earth beneath 
for yards around, and leaving marks of blood sufficient to prove that their 
encounter has been of the severest nature. 

Their usual mode of defence consists in striking at their enemies 
with their forefeet ; but in fighting with each other the males use 
both feet and horns, and they have sometimes been killed with marks 
of old wounds about their head and other parts of the body. As an 
instance of the force with which the Moose strikes, the following an- 
ecdote may be related : a bull-terrier in attempting to seize one by the 
nose, was struck by the animal with its forefoot, and knocked off to a dis- 
tance of twenty feet ; the dog died next day. 

The Moose deer frequently turn against the hunters, even before being 
shot at or in the least wounded. They walk, trot, and gallop, and can leap a 
great distance at a single bound ; like other species of deer they bend their 
bodies very low at times, to pass beneath branches of fallen trees, not 
even half their height from the earth. When pursued, they enter the most 
tangled thickets, and pass through them as if not feeling the impediments, 
the brushwood, fallen logs, &c, opposed to the hunter's progress. The calves 
when born are about the size of a few days old colt, but are more slender, 
and look very awkward on account of their apparent disproportionate 
long and large legs. When caught at three months old, they eat leaves, 
&c. ; but how long they are suckled by their dam we have not been able 
to ascertain. 

" During the summer they frequently resort to the shores of rivers, 


creeks or lakes, on the margins of which their tracks are seen, like those 
of common cattle ; they enter the water and immerse their bodies to save 
themselves from the bites of flies, &C. 

In all probability, where wolves are ye1 abundant, these are their 
most dangerous enemies besides man; but at the present time, few 
of these rapacious animals are to be found in the neighbourhood of 
Quebec. The Moose deer are frequently killed while in the water, 
or on the shores of some pond, lake or river: hut when their young 
.ur with them, they will run and chase the hunter, and it is sometimes 
difficult lor him to escape, unless he is so fortunate as to shoot and bring 
them down. 

"The flesh is considered very good, especially the moufflon, which forms 
the upper lip, and is very rich, juicy and srclatinous. This is cleaned and 
dressed in the same manner as 'calves' head.' The hunters salt their meat 
for winter use. The steaks are as good as beefsteaks : lint the .Moose are 
not generally fat, although their flesh is juicy and at times tender. The 
young at the aire of twelve months are never tOUgh, and their tlesli is prefer- 
able to thai of tl Id beasts. The inside of the mouth above, or palate, IS 

extremely hard, and lays in folds, shimr this animal the powerof gripping 
(seizing) the bark or the branches of trees, by which means it tears them 
oil" with ease. This pad is placed immediately beneath the extremity of 
the mmijjlon. and is about two inches lone;. 

" These animals i'ortl principally on the birch, the moosr-irootl. the aspen, 
and various kinds of leaves and grasses; in captivity they eat hay and 
other dry food, even hard ship-biseui: . The females are called 'cows.' 
the males ' hulls.' and the young ' calves." Their droppings resemble those of 
the deer kind. Although the Moose swim well they are no! known to dive. 
they swim with the head and pari ofthe neck above water, like cattle. When 
pursued in boats they frequently attempt to upset them, and at times open 
their mouths and make a loud snorting noise, striking at the same time 
with their forefeet, and occasionally sink the canoes ofthe Indians or hun- 
ters. Upon one occasion, a young man going fishing, and having his fowl- 
ing-piece along, on turning a point of a lake, saw a large Moose in the 
water and Bred at it with shot, tickling it severely. The Moose at once 
made for the canoe ; and whilst the alarmed fisherman was attempting to 
escape, his boat became entangled in the branches of a fallen tree, when 
he was forced to trive up the canoe ami :: ■■• away as he best, could : the 
animal on reaching the boat completely demolished it. Unfortunately, the 
females are sometimes killed when they are with calf. They do not gene- 
rally make any noise in the woods, unless when provoked, but in captivity 
they utter a plaintive sound, much resembling that made by the black bear 


They never are seen on the ice like the rein-deer ; it would seem by the 
formation of their hoofs that they might walk well on the rocks, or on the 
ice, but they keep in the woods, and when walking over snow their feet 
usually sink into it until they reach the earth. 

" A Mr. Bell, residing at Three Rivers, has a Moose which has been 
taught to draw water in a cart or in a sleigh during winter, but there is 
no possibility of working it during the rutting season. We have never 
heard of any attempt to ride on the Moose deer. Their horns, which are 
large, palmated, and heavy, are dropped in the months of December and 
January, begin to show again in the latter part of March, and in two 
months or thereabouts attain their full size. When covered over 
with ' velvet,' as it is called, they are very curious. A pair of good Moose 
horns sells at the high price of twenty dollars ! The velvet is scraped off 
against trees and bushes in the manner employed by our Virginian deer. 
Horns have been measured when reversed and standing on the ground 
four feet seven inches, and ordinary pairs often measure five feet and up- 

"It is said that the Moose can smell at a very great distance, and that the 
moment they scent a man or other enemy they make off and are not easily 
overtaken. On the first glimpse of man, if they are lying down they rise 
to their feet and are off at once, and often before they are observed by the 
hunter. When closely pursued, they turn and make a dash at the enemy, 
scarcely giving him time to escape, and the hunter's best plan in such cases 
is to keep cool and shoot the animal as it rushes towards him, or if unpre- 
pared, he. had best ascend a tree with all convenient dispatch. Sometimes 
the hunter is obliged to save himself by dodging around a tree, or by 
throwing down some part of his dress, upon which the Moose expends 
his fury, trampling on it until torn to tatters. 

" Moose-hunting is followed by white or red skinned hunters in the same 
manner. He, however, who has been born in the woods, possesses many 
advantages over the ' civilized' man. The white hunters generally pro- 
vide themselves, previous to their starting, amply with provisions and 
ammunition to last them about three weeks, and sometimes go in a sleigh. 
The guns used are mostly single-barrelled, of ordinary size, but suited for 
shooting balls as well as shot, — rifles are rarely used in Canada. After 
leaving the settlements, the first day's journey takes them ten or twelve 
miles, when they select a proper place in a snowy district, as near a 
stream as possible. 

" If the weather is fine, they cut down trees and make a camp, some of the 
party provide water, and others light the fires and clear off the snow for 
yards around, whilst evergreen trees are stripped of their branches to 

MOOSE DEER. i.s<i 

make up a floor and covering for them in their temporary shelter- The 
hunters having made ■•ill snug, cook their meat and eat it before a lire that 
illuminates the woods around, and causes the party to appear like a set 
of goblins through the darkness of night. On many such occasions the 
bedding is singed, and perchaneea whisker! The feel may be partially 
roasted, whilst the shoulders, the hands, and probably the nose, are suffer- 
ing greatly from the severity of the weather, for the thermometer may be 
occasionally thirty degrees below zero' The march to this spol i- 
quently made on snow-shoes, which are taken off, however, whilsl the 

party are forming the encampment, clearing away the snow. . 

making a path to the water, which being covered with snow and ice, re- 
quires to be gol at by means of shovels and axes. Before daylight, the 

kettles are put on the lire-, tea and codec are made, breakfast swallowed 
in a lew moments, and the party on toot, ready to march toward the hunt- 
ing-ground. On the way. every one anxiouslj looks out for tracks of the 

game, and whether hares or groust me in tin- way thej are shot and 

huug up on the trees; but if game of any kind h l thus hung up by 

others, whether Indians or while hunters, the party leaves it sacredly un- 
touched — for this is the etiquette of the chase throughout this portion of 

country. When thej at last reach the ground, the party divide, and 
seek for the Moose in different directions. It is agreed that no one shall 
shoot after separating from the rest, unless it be at the proper game, and 
also thai in case of meeting with .Moose, or with fresh signs, they are to 
return, and make ready to proceed to the spot together next day. Some- 
limes, however, this rule is broken through by some one whose anxiety 
(excitement) at sight of a Moose makes him forget himself and his pro- 
mise. A.S Soon as a 'yard' ha-- been discovered, all hands sally forth, and 
the hunt is looked upon as fairly begun. If on approaching the 'yard,' 
theirdogs, which are generally mongrels of all descriptions, start a Moose, 
the hunters, guided by their barking and tin 1 tracks of the pack and the 
Moose through the snow, follow with all possible celerity. The dogs 
frequently take hold of the Moose by the hind leirs, the animal turns, and 
Stands at hay. and the hunters thus have an opportunity to come up 

with tin- chase. 

"On approach in 2:, when at the proper distance (about sixty to eighty 
yards) the nearest man takes a decided aim, as nearly as possible under 
the forearm and through the neck, and fires, or, if fronting the beast, in 
the centre of the breast. 

" If wounded only, the second hunter fires also, and perhaps the third, 
and the animal succumbs at last, though it sometimes manages to 
run. stumble, and scramble, for miles. After skinning the Moose, 


the heart and liver, and the marrow-bones, are taken out, and a good 
large piece of the flesh is taken to 'camp,' and is speedily well cooked 
and placed smoking hot before the hungry hunters. After killing all 
the Moose of a ' yard' or that they can find near their camp, the party 
pack up their material, break up the camp, and return home. 

It not unfrequently happens, that a wounded Moose, or even one that 
has not been wounded, will turn upon the hunter, who then has to run for 
his life, and many instances of such incidents are related, including some 
hair-breadth escapes. One of these I will relate : Two Indians being on a 
hunt and having met with the game, one of them shot, and missed ; the 
Moose turned upon him, and he fled as fast as he could, but when about 
to reach a large tree, from behind which he could defy his opponent, his 
snow shoes hooked in some obstacle and threw him down. The Moose 
set upon him furiously and began trampling on him, but the Indian drew 
out a knife, and succeeded in cutting the sinews of the forelegs of the 
animal, and finally stabbed him so repeatedly in the belly that he fell dead, 
but unluckily fell on the prostrate hunter, who would have been unable 
to extricate himself, had not his companion come to his assistance. The 
poor man, however, had been so much injured that he never recovered en- 
tirely, and died about two years afterwards. 

During some seasons the snows are so deep, and at times so soft, 
that the Moose cannot go over the snow, but have to make their 
way through it, giving a great advantage to the hunters, who, on 
broad snow-shoes can stand or run on the surface without much 
difficulty. On one occasion of this nature a Moose was seen, and 
at once followed. The poor animal was compelled to plough the snow, 
as it were, and the hunters came up to it with ease, and actually placed 
their hands on its back. They then endeavoured to drive it towards their 
camp and secure it alive. The Moose, however, would not go in the proper 
direction, and they finally threw it down, and attempted to fasten its legs 
together ; but as they had no ropes, and could not procure any better sub- 
stitute for them than withes, the beast got away, and after a long chase 
they, being very much fatigued, shot it dead. When the snow is thus soft, 
the Moose deer has been known to evade the hunters by pushing ahead 
through tangled thickets, more especially hackmetack and briary places 
which no man can go through for any length of time without extreme labour. 
The Indians, however, will follow the Moose in such cases day and night, 
provided the moon is shining, until the animal is so fatigued that it can 
be overtaken and killed with ease. Instances have been known where as 
many as five have been killed in one day by two Indians. The Moose is 
not unfrequently caught in the following manner : A rope is passed over 


a horizontal branch of a tree, with a large noose and slip-knot at one end. 
whilst a heavy lop: is attached to the other, hanging across the limb or 
branch, and touching; the. ground. The Moose, as it walks along, passes 
its head through the noose, and the farther it advances, the tighter it finds it- 
self fastened, and whilst it plunges terrified onwards, the log is raised 
from the ground until it reaches the branch, when it sticks, so that no 
matter in what manner the Moose moves, the los: keeps .1 continued strain, 
rising and falling, but not giving the animal the least chance to escape, 
and at last the poor creature dies miserably. They are also 'pitted' at 
limes, but their legs are so long, that this method of securing them seldom 
succeeds, as they generally manage to get out." 

The Moose is well known to travellers who have crossed the Rocky 
Mountains, where this animal is principally called by the Trench name. 

Whilst at Quebec, in 1842, we procured the head and neck of a very 
large male, (handsomely mounted) : which was shot in the state of Maine, 
where the Moose is still frequently found. 

Moose deer are abundant in Labrador, and even near the coasl 
their tracks, or rather paths, may be seen, as distinctly marked as the 
cow-paths about a large stock-farm. In this sterile country, where the 
trees are so dwarfish that they only deserve the name of shrubs, and where 
innumerable barren hills arise, with cold clear-water ponds between, the 
Moose feeds luxuriously on the scanty herbage and the rank summer 
grasses that are found on their side-: but in winter the scene is awfully 
desolate, after the snows have fallen to a great depth : the whistling winds 
unimpeded by trees or forests, sweep over the country, carrying with them 
the light snow from the tops and windward sides of the hills in icy cloud-, and 
soon forming tremendous drifts in the valleys. No man can lace the storm- 
driven snows of this bleak, cold country: the congealed particles are 
almost solid, and so sharp and fine that they strike upon the face or hands 
like small shot : the tops of the hills are left quite bare and the Straggling 
Moose or rein deer seek a precarious supply of mosses along their 
sides. At this season the Moose sometimes crosses the Gulf of St. Law- 
rence, on the ice to Newfoundland, or follows the coast toward- the shore 
opposite Nova Scotia, and there passes the Gulf and wanders into more 
woody and favoured regions for the winter. 

The following is from our friend S. W. Rodman, Esq., of Boston, an excellent. 
sportsman, and a lover of nature, to whom we are indebted for man) kindnesses. 

"Our partv was returning from lake Miramichi, about the middle of July, by 
the marshy brook, which connects it with the Miramichi river. The canoe men 
were poling slowly and silently, in order not to disturb the numerous ducks which 
breed in those uninhabited solitude-, as we were anxious to vary our constant fish 
,H t ; salmon either boiled or '■skinned"' being set before us morning, nO( D and 


night. We had not fired a gun to disturb the silence. My own and my brother's 
canoes were, close together, when I saw an animal suddenly spring on to its feet 
from the long marshy grass about forty yards in advance of us. I said quickly 
" Cariboo," " Cariboo," "stoop low ;" which we all did and continued moving on. It 
was about the size of a yearling heifer, but taller, of a bright, light, red colour, with 
long ears pricked forward, and a large soft eye; and stood perfectly still, looking 
at us. We had gone perhaps ten yards, when there appeared from the long grass 
by its side, first the ears, then the huge head and muffle of an old cow Moose, the 
first one being as I now knew her calf, of perhaps four or five months old. She 
gradually rose to her knees, then sat upon her haunches, and at last sprang to her 
feet, her eyes all the time intently fixed upon us. The calf in the meanwhile had 
moved slowly off. At this moment we both fired without any apparent effect, the 
shot being too light to penetrate the thick hide. She turned instantly, showing a 
large and apparently well filled udder, struck into the tremendous trot, for which 
the Moose is so celebrated, crossed the deep brook almost at a stride, then the nar- 
row strip of meadow, and disappeared, crashing through the alders which inter- 
vened between the meadow and the dark evergreen forests beyond. 

Our oldest woodsman, Porter, assured us that she was one of the largest of her 
kind, and that it was rare good fortune to approach so near to this noblest denizen 
of our northern forests. We were much gratified, but our regret as sportsmen 
was still greater, at not having been prepared to take advantage of such an oppor- 
tunity as will probably never again occur to either of us. We constantly both be- 
fore and afterwards saw the tracks of cariboo and Moose about our camps." 


Capt. Franklin, in his last expedition, states that several Moose were 
seen at the mouth of Mackenzie River, on the shores of the Arctic Sea, in 
latitude G9°. Farther to the eastward towards the Copper-mine River, we 
are informed by Richardson, they are not found in a higher latitude than 
65°. Mackenzie saw them high up on the eastern declivity of the Rocky 
Mountains, near the sources of the Elk River ; Lewis and Clark saw them 
at the mouth of the Oregon. To the east they abound in Labrador, Nova 
Scotia, New-Brunswick, and Lower Canada. In the United States they 
are found in very diminished numbers in the unsettled portions of Maine 
and at long intervals in New-Hampshire and Vermont. In the state of 
New- York, according to the observations, made by Dr. Dekay, (Nat. Hist. 
N. Y., p. 1 17), which we believe strictly correct, they yet exist in Herkimer, 
Hamilton, Franklin, Lewis and Warren counties, and their southern limit 
along the Atlantic coast is 43° 30'. 

general remarks. 

We have considerable doubts whether our Moose deer is identical with 
the Scandinavian elk (Cervus alce.t, of authors ), and have therefore 
not quoted any of the synonymes of the latter, but having possessed no 
favourable opportunities of deciding this point, we have not ventured on 
the adoption of any of the specific names which have from time to time 
been proposed for the American Moose. 





0—0 6—6 

Incisive - ; Canine — ; Molar — = 32. 

0—0 6-6 

Horns common to both sexes; small in the female; horns persistent, 
greatly compressed, rough, pearled, slightly striated, with an anterior 
process, and the point inclining backwards; eye large; no 
sinus; no inguinal pores; no muzzle; facial line, converse ; no canines; 
no succentorial hoot's: tail very short; hair stiff, coarse, undulating, 
Battened : female, mammss. 

Habit, peaceable, gregarious, herbivorous, confined to North-America. 

Only one well determined species belongs to this genus. 

The generic name AntUocapra, is derived from the two genera Antilopt 
and Copra, Goat Antelope. 



PLATE L X X V 1 1. Male and Female. 

Cornibus pedalibus comprcssis, intus planis, antia granulatis striatisque 
propuenaculo compresso procurvo cum cornum parte posteriore retrorsum 
uncinata furcam constitutiente ; colore russo fuscescente, gutture, cluni- 
umque disco albis : statura, Cervus Virginianus. 


Horns compressea, Hat on the inner side, pearled and striated, with a com- 
pressed snag to the front ; colour, reddish dun ; throat and disk on the but- 
tocks, white. Size of the Virginia deer. 
vol. ii. — 25. 




Teuthlamacam^e. Hernandez, Nov.-Hispan, p. 324, fig. 324. An. 1651. 

Le Squenoton. Hist. d'Amerique, p. 175. An. 1723. 

Squinaton. Dobb's, Hudson's Bay, p. 24. An. 1744. 

Antilope, Cabre or Goat. Gass Journal, pp. 49, 111. 

Antilope. Lewis and Clarke Journ., Vol. i., pp. 75, 208, 396; Vol. ii., p. 169. 

Antilope Americana. Ord, Guthrie's Geography. 1815. 

Cervus hamatus. Blainville, Nouv-Ball. Society. 1816. 

Antilocapra Americana. Ord, Jour, de Phys., p. 80. 1818. 

Antilope furcifer. C . Hamilton Smith, Lin. Trans., Vol. xiii., plate 2. An. 1823. 

Antilope palmata. Smith, Griffith, Cuv., Vol. v., p. 323. 

Antilope Americana. Harlan Fauna, p. 250. 

" Godman, Nat. Hist., Vol. ii., p. 321 

Antilope furcifer. Richardson, F. B. A,, p. 261, plate 21. 


The Prong-horned Antelope possesses a stately and elegant form, and 
resembles more the antelope than the deer family. It is shorter and more 
compactly built than the Virginia deer ; its head and neck are also shorter 
and the skull is broader at the base. The horns of the male are curved 
upwards and backwards with a short triangular prong about the centre, 
inclined inwards, not wrinkled. Immediately above the prong the horn 
diminishes to less than half the size, below the prong the horn is flat and 
very broad, extremity of the horn sharp and pointed, and of the prong 
blunt. There are irregular little points on the horns of the male, two or 
three on each side. One specimen has two on the inside of each horn and 
one on the outside irregularly disposed. 

Nostrils large and open, placed rather far back, eyes large and promi- 
nent, ears of moderate size, acuminate in shape ; on the back of the neck in 
winter specimens there is a narrow ridge of coarse hairs resembling a short 
mane. In summer there only remains of this mane a black stripe on the 
upper surface of the neck ; eyelashes profuse ; there is no under-fur. The 
hairs are of a singular texture, being thick, soft, wavy and slightly crimped 
beneath the surface : they are brittle, and when bent do not return to their 
original straight form, interiorly they are white, spongy and pithy; scrotum 
pendulous. There is not the slightest vestige of any secondary hoofs on 
either of its fore or hind legs, such as are seen in deer and other animals. The 
hoofs are strong and compact, small and diminishing suddenly to a point. 


The nose is yellowish brown, eye lashes black, the orbits with a blackish 
brown border, outer edge and points of the ears brownish black. There is 


;i white hand about two inches wide in front of and partly encircling the 
throat, narrowing to a point on each side of the neck; beneath this is a 
brown band about the same breath, underneath which is a grayish white 
spot of nearly a triangular shape : this is formed by a patch on each side of 
the throat of yellowish brown. The chest, belly, and sides to within five 
or six inches of the back are grayish white. A large light-coloured patch 
of nine inches in breadth exists on the rump, similar to that on the Rocky 
Mountain sheep and the elk. This whitish patch is separated by a brown- 
yellowish line, running along the vertebrae of the back to the tail. Legs, 
pale brownish yellow, approaching to dull buff colour, all the upper surface 
yellowish brown ; under jaw and cheek, pale or grayish white : lips, whitish. 
Female. — The female is a size smaller than the male. The neck is 
shorter. The form is similar, except that the markings are rather fainter: 
the brownish yellow which surrounds the different whitish or grayish 
white spots and bands being much paler than in the male. The horn is 
destitute of a prong; it is only three inches in length, nearly straight, and 
running to an acute point. The female possesses no mane 


From point of nose to root of tail, 

I [eight, to shoulder from end of hoof, . 

Length of ear. ...... 

Length of prong, 


Reader, let us carry you with us to the boundless plains over which the 
prong-horn speeds. Hurra for the prairies and the swift antelopes, as 
they fleet by the hunter like dashes or meteors, seen but for an instant, for 
quickly do they pass out of sight in the undulating ground, covered with 
tall rank irrass. Observe now a flock of these beautiful animals -. they 
are not afraid of man — they pause in their rapid course to gaze on the hun- 
ter, and stand with head erect, their ears as well as eyes directed towards 
him. and make a loud noise by stamping with their forefeet on the hard 
earth; but suddenly they become aware that he is no friend of theirs, and 
away they bound like a (lock of frightened sheep — but far more swiftly do 
the graceful antelopes gallop off. even the kids running with extraordinary 
speed by the side of their parents — and now they turn around a steep hill 
and disappear, then perhaps again come in view, and once more stand and 
gue at the intruder. .Sometimes, eager with curiosity and anxious to 










examine the novel object which astonishes as well as alarms them, the 
antelopes on seeing a hunter, advance toward him, stopping at intervals, and 
then again advancing, and should the hunter partly conceal himself, and 
wave his handkerchief or a white or red rag on the end of his ramrod, he 
may draw the wondering animals quite close to him and then quickly seiz- 
ing his rifle send a ball through the fattest of the group, ere the timid crea- 
tures have time to fly from the fatal spot. 

The Indians, we were told, sometimes bring the antelope to within ar- 
row-shot (bow-shot), by throwing themselves on their backs and kicking 
up their heels with a bit of a rag fastened to them, on seeing which mov- 
ing amid the grass the antelope draws near to satisfy his curiosity. 

The atmosphere on the western prairies is so pure and clear that an an- 
telope is easily seen when fully one mile off, and you can tell whether it 
is feeding quietly or is alarmed ; but beautiful as the transparent thin air 
shews all distant objects, we have never found the great western prairies 
equal the Jlmcery descriptions of travellers. They lack the pure streamlet 
wherein the hunter may assuage his thirst — the delicious copses of dark, 
leafy trees ; and even the thousands of fragrant flowers, which they are poet- 
ically described as possessing, are generally of the smaller varieties; and the 
Indian who roams over them is far from the ideal being — all grace, strength 
and nobleness, in his savage freedom — that we from these descriptions con- 
ceive him. Reader, do not expect to find any of the vast prairies that 
border the Upper Missouri, or the Yellow-Stone rivers, and extend to the 
Salt Lakes amid the Californian range of the Rocky Mountains, verdant 
pastures ready for flocks and herds, and full of the soft perfume of the 
violet. No ; you will find an immense waste, of stony, gravelly, barren soil, 
stretched before you ; you will be tormented with thirst, half eaten up by 
stinging flies, and lucky will you be if at night you find wood and water 
enough to supply your fire and make your cup of coffee ; and should you 
meet a band of Indians, you will find them wrapped in old buffalo robes, 
their bodies filthy and covered with vermin, and by stealing or begging 
they will obtain from you perhaps more than you can spare from your 
scanty store of necessaries, and armed with bows and arrows or firearms, 
they are not unfrequently ready to murder, or at least rob you of all your 
personal property, including your ammunition, gun and butcher knife ! 

The Prong-horned Antelope brings forth its young about the same time 
as the common deer : from early in May to the middle of June ; it has gen- 
erally two fawns at a birth. We have heard of no case in which more 
than that number has been dropped at a time, and probably in some cases 
only one is fawned by the dam. The young are not spotted like the fawn 
of the common deer, but are of a uniform dun colour. The dam 


remains by her young for some days after they are born, feeding immedi- 
ately around the spot, and afterwards gradually enlarging her ranire ; when 
the young arc a fortnight old they have gained strength and speed enough 
to escape with their fleet-footed mother from wolves or other four-footed 
foes. Sometimes, however, the wolves discover and attack the young 
when they arc too feeble to escape, and the mother then displays the 
most devoted courage in their defence. She rushes on them, butting and 
Striking with her short horns, and sometimes tosses a wolf heels over head, 
she also use* her forefeet, with which she deals severe blows, and if the 
wolves are not. in strong force, or desperate with hunger, puts them to 
flight, and then seeks with her young a safer pasturage, or some al- 
most inaccessible rocky hill side. 

The rutting season of this species commences in September, the bucks 
run for about six weeks, and during this period fight with irreat courage 

and even a degree of ferocity. When a male sees another approach- 
ing, or accidentally comes upon one of his rivals, both parties run at each 
other with their heads lowered and their eyes flashing angrily, and while 
they strike with their horns they wheel and bound with prodigous activity 

anil rapidity, giving and receh ing severe wounds, — sometimes like feni 1 
getting within each others " points," and each hooking his antagonist with 
the recurved branches of his horns, which bend considerably inwards and 

The Prong-horned Antelope usually inhabits the low prairies adjoining 
the covered woody bottoms during spring and autumn, but is also found on 
the high or upland prairies, or amid broken hills, and is to be seen along 
the margins of the rivers and streams : it swims very fast and well, and oc- 
casionally a herd when startled may be seen crossing a river in strath 11 e; 
tiles, but without disorder, and apparently with ease. 

Sometimes a few of these animals, or even only one or two by them- 
selves may be seen, whilst in other instances several hundreds are con- 
gregated in a herd. They are remarkably shy, are possessed of a fine 
Sense of smell, and have large and beautiful eyes, which enable them to 
scan the surface of the undulating prairie and detect the lurking Indian or 
wolf, creep he ever so cautiously through the grasses, unless some inter- 
vening elevation or copsewood conceal his approach. It is. therefore, 
necessary for the hunter to keep well to leeward, and to use extraordinary 
caution in "sneaking" after this species: and he must also exercise a 
great deal of patience and move very slowly and only at intervals, when 
the animals with heads to the ground or averted from him, are feeding or 
attracted by some other object. When they discover a man thus stealthily 
moving near them, at first sight they fly from him with <rrcat speed, and 


often retire to the broken grounds of the clay hills, from which they are 
not often tempted to stray a great distance at any time. As we have already 
mentioned, there are means, however, to excite the timid antelope to 
draw near the hunter, by arousing his curiosity and decoying him to his 
ruin. The antelopes of the Upper Missouri country are frequently shot by 
the Indians whilst crossing the river ; and, as we were informed, preferred 
the northern side of the Missouri ; which, no doubt, arises from the preva- 
lence on that bank of the river of certain plants, trees or grasses, that they 
are most fond of. Males and females are found together at all seasons of 
the year. We have been told that probably a thousand or more of these 
animals have been seen in a single herd or flock at one time, in the spring. 

It was supposed by the hunters at Fort Union, that the prong-horned 
antelope dropped its horns ; but as no person had ever shot or killed one 
without these ornamental and useful appendages, we managed to prove 
the contrary to the men at the fort by knocking off the bony part of the 
horn, and showing the hard, spongy membrane beneath, well attached to 
the skull and perfectly immoveable. 

The Prong-horned Antelope is never found on the Missouri river below 
L'eau qui court ; but above that stream they are found along the great 
Missouri and its tributaries, in all the country east of the Rocky Moun- 
tains, and in many of the great valleys that are to be met with among these 
extraordinary " big hills." None of these antelopes are found on the shores 
of the Mississippi, although on the headwaters of the Saint Peter's river 
they have been tolerably abundant. Their walk is a slow and somewhat 
pompous gait, their trot elegant and graceful, and their gallop or " run " 
light and inconceivably swift ; they pass along, up or down hills, or along 
the level plain with the same apparent ease, while so rapidly do their legs 
perform their graceful movements in propelling their bodies over the 
ground, that like the spokes of a fast turning wheel we can hardly see 
them, but instead, observe a gauzy or film-like appearance where they 
should be visible. 

In autumn, this species is fatter than at any other period. Their liver 
is much prized as a delicacy, and we have heard that many of these ani- 
mals are killed simply to procure this choice morsel. This antelope feeds 
on the short grass of the prairies, on mosses, buds, &c. ; and suffers greatly 
during the hard winters experienced in the north-west ; especially when 
the snow is several feet in depth. At such times they can be caught by 
hunters provided with snow shoes, and they are in this manner killed, even 
in sight of Fort Union, from time to time. 

It is exceedingly difficult to rear the young of this species ; and, although 
many attempts have been made at Fort Union, and even an old one caught 


and brought within an enclosure to keep the young company, they became 
furious, and ran and butted alternately against the picket-wall or fence 
until they were too much bruised and exhausted to recover. William 
Sublette, Esq., of St. Louis. Missouri, however, brought with him to thai 
city a female antelope, caught when quite young on the prairies of the 
far west, which grew to maturity, and was so very gentle, that it would go 
all over the house, mounting or descending the stairs, and occasionally 
going on to the roof of the building he lived in. This female was alive 
when we first reached St. Louis, but not being aware of its existence, we 
never saw it. It was killed before we left by a buck-elk. belonging to the 
same gentleman. 

Whilst on our journey in the far west, in 1*13. on one occasion, we had 
the gratification of seeing an old female, in a flock of eight or ten antelopes, 
suckling its young. The little beauty performed this operation precisely in 
the manner of our common lambs, almost kneeling down, bending its head 
upwards, its rump elevated, it thumped the bag of its mother, from time 
to time, and reminded us of far distant seems, where peaceful Socks feed 
and repose under the safeguard of our race, and no prowling wolf orhungry 
Indian defeats the hopes of the good shepherd who nightly folds his stock of 
the Leicester or Bakcwell breed. Our wild antelopes, however, as w , 
approached them, scampered away : and we were delighted to see that 
first, and in the van of all, was the young one ! 

On the 01st July, 1848, whilst in company with our friend, Edward 
11 irris, Esq., during one of our hunting excursions, we came in si^ht of an 

antelope gazing at US, and determined to stop and try if we could bring 
him toward us by the trick we have already mentioned, ofthrowing OUT 
legs up in the air and kicking them about, whilst lying on our back in the 
-rass. We kicked away firsl one foot and then the other, and sure enough, 
the antelope walked slowly toward us. apparently with great caution and 
suspicion. In about twenty minutes he had advanced towards us some two 
or three hundred yards. He was a superb male, and we looked at him for 
several minutes when about sixty yards off. We could see his fine pro- 
trading eyes : and being loaded with buck-shot, we took aim and pulled 
trigger. Oil' he went, as if pursued by a whole Black-fool Indian hunting 
party. Friend Harris sent a ball at him. but was as unsuccessful as our- 
selves, for he only ran the faster for several hundred yards, when he 
Stopped for a lew minutes, looked again at us. and then went oil. without 
pausing as long as he was in sight. We have been informed by Laflbi r, 
a man employed by the Company, that antelopes will escape with meat 
ease even when they have one limb broken, as they can run fast enough 
upon three legs to defy any pursuit. Whilst we were encamped at the 


" Three Mamelles," about sixty miles west of Fort Union, early one morning 
an antelope was heard snorting, and was seen by some of our party for a 
few minutes only. This snorting, as it is called, resembles a loud whistling, 
singing sound prolonged, and is very different from the loud and clear 
snorting of our common deer ; but it has always appeared to us to be almost 
useless to attempt to describe it ; and although at this moment we have 
the sound of the antelope's snort in our ears, we feel quite unable to give 
its equivalent in words or syllables. 

The antelope has no lachrymal pits under the eyes, as have deer and 
elks, nor has it any gland on the hind leg, so curious a feature in many of 
those animals of the deer tribe which drop their horns annually, and only 
wanting (so far as our knowledge extends) in the Cervus Richardsonii, 
which we consider in consequence as approaching the genus Antilope, and 
in a small deer from Yucatan and Mexico, of which we had a living 
specimen for some time in our possession. 

The prong-horned antelope often dies on the open prairies during severe 
winter weather, and the remains of shockingly poor, starved, miserable indi- 
viduals of this species, in a state of the utmost emaciation, are now and then 
found dead in the winter, even near Fort Union and other trading posts. 

The present species is caught in pens in the same manner nearly as the 
bison, (which we have already described at p. 97) but is generally despatch- 
ed with clubs, principally by the women. In the winter of 1840, when the 
snow was deep in the ravines, having drifted, Mr. Laidlavv, who was 
then at Fort Union, caught some of them by following them on horse- 
back and forcing them into these drifts, which in places were as much as 
ten to twelve feet deep. They were brought to the fort in a sleigh, and 
let loose about the rooms ; they were to appearance so very gentle that 
the people suffered their children to handle them, although the animals 
were loose- They were placed in the carpenter's shop, one broke its 
neck by leaping over a turning-lathe, and the rest all died ; for as soon as 
they had appeased the cravings of hunger, they began to fret for their 
accustomed liberty, and regained all their original wildness. They leaped, 
kicked and butted themselves against every obstacle,untiltoomuch exhaust- 
ed to recover.— These individuals were all captured by placing nooses, 
fixed on the end of long poles, round their necks, whilst they were embedded 
in the soft and deep snow drifts, to which they had been driven by Mr. 

There are some peculiarities in the gait of this species that we have 
not yet noticed. The moment they observe a man or other strange object 
producing an alarm, they bound off for some thirty or forty yards, raising 
all their legs at the same time, and bouncing, at it were, from two to three 


feet above the ground ; after this they stretch their bodies out and gallop 
at an extraordinary speed. We have seen some which, when started, 
would move otf and run a space of several miles, in what we thought did 
not exceed a greater number of minutes ! 

From what we have already said, it will be inferred that the wolf is 
one of the most formidable enemies of this species. We have, however, 
not yet mentioned that in some very cold and backward seasons the young, 
when lirst born at such times, are destroyed by these marauders in such 
numbers that the hunters perceive the deficiency and call them scarce for 
the next season. Antelopes are remarkably fond of saline water or salt, 
and know well where the salt-licks are found. They return to them daily, 
if near their grazing grounds, and lay down by them, after licking the 
sally earth or drinking the salt water. Here they will remain for hours 
at a lime, in fact until hunger drives them to seek in other places the 
juicy and nourishing grassi - of the prairie. This species is fond of taking 
iis stand, when alone, on some knoll, from which it can watch the move- 
meats of all wanderers on the plains around, and from which a fair chance 
to run in any direction is secured, although the object of its fear may be con- 
ed from view occasionally by a ravine, or by another projecting ridge 
like iis own point of sight. 

We had in our employ a hunter on the Yellow-Stone River, who killed 
two female antelopes and broke the leg of a third at one shot from an 
ordinary western title. The ball must have passed entirely through the 
two first of these animals. 

We have represented on our plate two males and a female in the fore 
ground, with a flock of these timid creatures running at full speed in the 

We subjoin the following account of the Antelopes seen by J. W. Audubon 
and his party on their overland journey through Northern Mexico and 
Sonora to California. 

" Leaving Altar, Sonora, the country was flat and uninteresting, except 
that large patches of coarse grass, sometimes miles in length, took the 
place of the naked clay plains we had been riding through. The tall 
cactus, described by Fremont andEifORY, in its eccentric forms was remark- 
able enough even by daylight, but at night, a very little superstition, with 
the curved and curiously distorted forms, produced in some cases by dis- 
ease of the plant, or by the violent gales that periodically sweep those 
prairies, might make the traveller suppose this was a region in which 
beings supernatural stalked abroad. The shrill whistle ofthe Antelope, new 
to us all, added to the wild and unearthly character of the scene. The 
Maricapos Indians were said to be friendly, but we did not know it, ami 

VOL. II. — 2P 


after our long watcbings against Camanche, Apatche,Wako and Paramanii, 
who among us, as we knew how Indians sometimes personate the animals 
of the section they live in, but listened with intense interest to the slightest 
noise foreign to our previous knowledge. The short quick stampings of im- 
patience or nervousness, continually repeated by the animals, were, how- 
ever, soon distinguished in the stillness of our prairie camp at night, and 
feeling thus assured that only one of the deer tribe was the cause of 
our anxiety, blankets and tent soon covered us, and we left the beautiful 
and innocent creatures, now that we knew them, to their own reflections, 
if any they made, as to who and what we were, until morning. 

At day light, Rhoades and Van Horn, two hunters good as ever ac- 
companied a train across the broad prairies ranged over by Buffalo, 
Elk. or Deer, looked out the trails, and reported Antelopes ; but brought 
none to camp ; not expecting to see any more of this herd, we started on 
our tramp towards the great Sonora Desert. 

Stevenson had a new horse, and as he had never been mounted with- 
out blindfolding him, after the Mexican fashion with young horses, being 
wild, his owner, by way of making him more gentle, commenced beat- 
ing him with a stick that might have been selected to kill him ; before 
I had time to know what was going on and interfere for the poor 
horse, he had looked to his own interests, pulled away, and with a 
bounding gallop went off, like an escaped prisoner, leading four of our 
best men and horses some ten miles ahead of the train, and when the 
runaway was at length overtaken, Van Horn, Pennypacker, Mc. Cusker, 
and myself were greatly in advance ; the curve we had made from the 
road was slight, and on reaching it again, no trail told that the company 
had passed, so we had time to look about us, and loitered to rest our tired 
horses, when simultaneously we saw the back of a deer or Antelope ; its 
head was hidden by the tall grass in which it was grazing on the soft juicy 
young shoots at the roots of the old tussocks : Van Horn, with his unerring 
aim and Mississippi rifle, the eccentric twist of which, no doubt taken from 
Wesson's patent, renders these guns superior to all we have tried, was told 
to kill it. For a few seconds he was lost to our sight, though only a 
hundred yards from us, so low did he squat in the sparse tufts of dead 
grass and stinking wormwood. How curious it is to stand waiting the 
result of the skill and caution of the well tried hunter, at such a time ; 
again and again we saw the back of the Antelope, as he passed one bunch 
of shrubbery after another, but never saw our hunter : at every moment 
we expected to see the wary animal with sense of smell so keen as nine 
times out often to save him from his enemies, bound away ; but how diffe- 
rent was his bound when he did leap, not forward, but straight upward. 


And now wp saw Van Horn, a quarter of a mile off, running to where the 
last leap was made by his prey, and then came on the sluggish air. the 
crack of his rifle, almost after we had forgotten to listen for it. as a rifle 
cracks nowhere except on prairies, where neither woods, rocks or hills send 
hack the sound. When I saw this beautiful creature, a most magnificent 
male, the first I had ever seen in the llesh. though the drawing for the 
' Quadrupeds' hail been long made and published, how I wished to redraw 
it! delicate even to the descriptions of the gazelle, muscular and sinewy 
as the best bred grey hound that Scotland ever produced. 

I anticipated a treat, as Van Horn gave me a hind quarter for our men, 
which I tied doubly secure to my saddle. Rut when night came, after ten 
hours' ride, although we enjoyed our steaks, the deer of the Cordilleras was 
too fresh in our memories to permit us to say thai this Antelope was the 
best meat we had eaten." 

The eastern spurs of the coast range were just behind us : the 

black-tailed deer was scarcely past, for a few miles back, high up on one 
of the conical velvety hills of this range, we had seen three, looking at us 
from under one of the dwarf oaks that grow at a certain altitude, in forms 
peculiar to this country : above or below, either a different formation 
or total absence of shrubbery occurring. We were winding along the 
base of a moderate line of hills of the Sierra Nevada, when what we 
took for a flock of sheep, the trail of which we had been following for three 
days on the way to the mines from Los Angeles, was discovered, and we 
hoped for mutton, to say nothing of the company we anticipated : but our 
flock of sheep was like the 'Phantom Bark,* for it 'seemed never the 
nigher,' au contraire, turning a hill went out of sight, and we never got 
another view : we saw another flock some miles on, and at first, suppos- 
ing it the same, wondered how they could travel so fast. This was 
probably another portion of the one we had trailed for so many days. 
We were gratified by the whole flock running near us, from which we 
argued we were in the chosen country of the Antelope, the broad Tule 
valley. The flock ran 'shearing' about, as the formation of the land com- 
pelled them to turn to tin- right or left, showing their sides alternately in 
lighl and shade. When they are on the mountain sides and discover a 
foe, or any object that (lightens them, the whole flock rush headlong for 
the plains, whether the enemy is likelj to intercept them or not, and they 
seem to fly with the single idea, that they are in a dangerous place, and 
must change it tor some other, no matter what : at times a whole flock 
would run to within shot of our company, determined as it wen- to go 
through the line, and 1 believe in one or two instances would have done 
so. if they had not been shot at by our too impatient party. When on 


the plains, the same desire possesses them to get to the hills, and bacK 
they go a hundred or two in a flock, seldom slackening their speed, ex- 
cept for a few seconds to look again, and be more frightened than ever 
at what had first startled them. The rolling hills of the western line of 
the Sierra Nevada were their most favourite locality in this valley, as 
far as we saw, but Lavton and myself met an accidental individual or 
two, nearly up to Sacramento city, as we travelled through the beautiful, 
park-like scenes of this portion of California to the diggings of the head 
waters of the " American Fork." 

As to the shedding of the horns of this species, I never was able to as- 
certain it, but a fine buck we killed, late in November, had a soft space 
between the head and horn, over the bone, that looked as if it had grown 
that length in one season. A young Antelope is better eating than a deer, 
but an old one, is decidedly goaty. 


The Prong-horned Antelope is an inhabitant of the western portions of 
North America, being at no time found to the east of the Mississippi 
river. Its most northerly range is, according to Richardson, latitude 53° 
on the banks of the north branch of the Saskatchewan. They range 
southerly on the plains east of the Rocky Mountains into New Mexico. 
The precise latitude we have not been able to ascertain, but we have seen 
specimens that were said to have been obtained along the eastern ridge of 
the mountains within the tropics in Mexico. The account given by Hernan- 
dez, as well as his bad figure of his Teuthlamacame, can apply to no other 
species ; this was obtained in Mexico. Lewis and Clarke found it on the 
plains west of the Columbia River, and it is now known to be an inhabi- 
tant of California. It has, therefore, a very extensive geographical range. 

general remarks. 

We have after much reflection and careful examination, concluded to 
adopt Mr. Ord's genus Anlilocapra for this species. It differs in so many 
particulars from the true Antelopes, that naturalists will be compelled 
either to enlarge the character of that genus, or place it under one already 
formed. Its horns are branched, of which no instance occurs among all 
the species of Antelope ; it is destitute of crumens or lachrymal openings, 
and is entirely deficient in the posterior or accessory hoofs, there being 
only two on each foot. 

Major Hamilton Smith, (Cuv. Animal Kingdom, A r ol. v., p. 321,) formed 
a genus under the name of Dicranocerus, under which he placed a second 
species which he named Apalmata. Although the generic name given by 


Smith is in many respects preferable, as being more classically correct, 
still, if we were to be governed by the principle that we should reject a 
genus because the compound word from which it is derived is composed 
of two languages, or if it does not designate the precise character of the 
species, we would be compelled to abandon many familiar genera, estab- 
lished by Linnaeus himself. 

The specific name of Orp, we have also adopted in preference to the 
more characteristic one " ft:rcifrr" of Smith, under a rule which we ha\ e 
laid down in this work not to alter a specific name that has been legiti- 
mately given. 

We have added the A prrimala, palmated Antelope of Major Smith, as a 
synonyme. We have compared so many specimens differing from ench 
other in shades of colour and size of horns, that we have scarcely a doubt 
of his having described a very old male of the Prong-horned Antelope. 



Mule Deer. 

PLATE LXXVIII. Female— Summer Pelage. 

C. cornibus sub-dichotomo-ramosis ; auriculis longissimis ; corpore 
supra pallide rufescente-fusco, cauda pallide rufescente cinerea, apice 
compresso subtus nudi-osculo nigro. 


Horns cylindrical, twice forked ; ears very long ; body above, brownish 
grey ; tail short, above, pale reddish ash colour, except at the extremity on its 
upper surface, where it is black. Hair on the body coarse, like that of the 
Elk ; very long glandular openings on the sides of hind legs. 


Jumping Deer. Umfreville, Hudson's Bay, p. 164. 

Black Tailed or Mule Deer. Gass Journ. p. 55. 

Black Tailed Deer, Mule Deer. Lewis and Clarke. Vol. 1, pp. 91, 92, 106, 

152, 239, 264, 328. Vol.2, p. 152. Vol. 3. p. 27, 125. 
Mule Deer. Warden's United States. Vol. 1, p. 245. 
Cere Mulet. Desmarest Mam., p. 43. 

Black Tailed or Mule Deer. James Long's Exped. Vol. 2, p. 276. 
Cervus Macrotis, Say. Long's Expedit. Vol. 2, p. 254. 

" " Harlan Fauna, p. 243. 

" " Sabine. Franklin's Journey, p. 667. 

" " Godman's Nat. Hist. Vol. 2, p. 305. 

Great Eared Deer. Griffith's An. King. Vol. 4, p. 133 ; Vol. 5. p. 794. 


In size this species is intermediate between the Elk and the Virginian 
Deer, and a little larger than the Columbian Black Tailed Deer, to be 
noticed hereafter. It is a fine formed animal, bearing a considerable re- 
semblance to the Elk, its long ears constitute its only apparent defor- 

Male. — Antlers slightly grooved, tuberculated at base, a small branch 
near the base, correspondingto the situation and direction of those of the C. 
Virginianus. The curvature of the anterior line of the antlers, is similar in 




direction but less in degree than in the Common Deer ; near the middle of 
the entire length of the antlers they bifurcate equally and each of these 
processes again divides near the extremity, the anterior of these smaller 
prongs being somewhat longer than the posterior ones. The lateral teeth 
are larger in proportion to the intermediate teeth than those of the Virginia- 
nus. The ears .are very long, extending to the principal bifurcation, about 
half the length of the whole antler. The lachrymal aperture is longer than 
in the Virginian Peer, the hair is coarser and is undulated or crimped like 
that of the Elk ; the hoofs are shorter and wider than those of the common 
Deer, and more like those ofthe Elk. the tip of the trunk of the tail is some- 
what compressed and almost destitute of hair. 

Female. — Summer Pelage. — In the length and form of its ears, the animal 
from which we describe constantly reminds us ofthe mule, and in this parti- 
cular may not have been inappropriately named the Mule Deer. The fe- 
male is considerably larger than the largest male of the Virginian Deer we 
have ever examined. The head is much broader and lonsrer from tin i 
to the point ofthe nose, the eye large and prominent, the legs stouter, and the 
tail shorter. The gland on the outer surface ofthe hind lesr^ below tin- 
knee, covered by a tuft of hair, is of the unusual length of six inches, 
whilst in the common deer it is only one inch lomr. Around the throat. 
the hair is longer than in the corresponding parts ofthe Virginian Deer, 
and near the lower jaw under the throat, it has the appearand of 8 small 
tuft or beard. The tail of the summer-specimen is slightly tufted, indi- 
cating that in winter it might have a distinct tuft at the end. It b 
rounded and not broad and flat like that ofthe Virginian Deer. 

The hair on the body is coarse, and lies less compact and smooth, 
on the thighs near the buttocks, resembles white cotton threads cut otr ab- 


Upper portion of nose and sides of face ashy grey ; the forehead is dark 
brown, and commences a line running alone: the vertebra? of the back, 
growing darker till it becomes nearly black. Eyebrows and a lew streaks 
on and along the neck dark brown. Neck, and sides of body, yellowish 
brown. Outer surface of legs a shade lighter than the sides ofthe body. 
Under the chin, inner surface of lesrs, and belly, greyish white. Belly 
between the forelegs brownish or yellowish-brown, a line of which colour 
runs up to the neck. It differs from the Virginian Deer in lirinir destitute 
ofthe dark markings under the chin, and has them less conspicuous around 
the nose. From the root ofthe tail extending downwards on both but- 



tocks there is a lightish patch seven inches in diameter, making an ap- 
proach to the yellowish white spot on the buttocks, so characteristic 
in the elk, rocky mountain sheep, and pronged horned antelope. From the 
root of the tail to near the extremity the hairs are ashy white. Point of 
tail for two inches black. 

There are no annulations on the hair, which is uniform in colour from 
the roots. 




Nose to anterior canthus of eye - 

Length of eye -------- 

Nose to opening of ear ------ 1 

end " " 1 

Breadth of ear -------- 

Nose to point of shoulder 2 

Nose to root of tail 4 

Tail vertebrae -------- 

End of hair -------- 

Tip of shoulder to elbow 1 

" " " to bottom of feet 3 

Height to rump ..-.---3 

Girth back of shoulder - 3 

Round the neck --1 

Nose to angle of mouth ------ 

Between eyes at anterior canthus . - - - 

Behind the eyes round the head .... 1 

Weight, 132 lbs. 

Dimensions of a Male, as given by Say. 

Length from base of antlers to origin of basal process, - 

From basal process to principal bifurcations 

Posterior branch - 

From anterior base of antlers to tip of superior jaw 

Of the ears ------ 

Trunk of the tail - 

Hair at the tip of tail - - 










3 to 4 



The first opportunity was afforded us of observing this magnificent 
animal, on the 12th of May as we were ascending the Missouri, about 
eleven hundred miles above Fort Leavenworth. On winding along the 
banks, bordering a long and wide prairie, intermingled with willows and 
other small brush wood, we suddenly came in sight of four Mule or black- 
tailed Deer, which after standing a moment on the bank and looking at us. 
trotted leisurely away, without appearing to be much alarmed. Alter they 
had retired a few hundred yards, the two largest, apparently males, ele- 
vated themselves on their hind legs and pawed each other in the manner 
of the horse. Thej occasionally stopped for a moment, then trotted off 
again, appearing and disappearing from time to time, when becom 
suddenly alarmed, they bounded off at a swift pace, until out of si{ 
They did not trot or run as irregularly as our Virginian Deer, and they 
appeared at a distance darker in colour, as the common Deer at this 

in is red. On the 25th of the same month, we met with four otl 
which in the present instance did not stop to be examined ; we saw them 
at a distance rapidly and gracefully hurrying out of sight. On the evening 
of the same day. one of our hunters brought to us a young Buck of this 
species, the horns of which, however, were yel too small to enable us to 

judge what would be their appearance in the adult animal When on the 
Upper Missouri, near Fort Union, we obtained through the aid of our hun- 
ters, the female Black-tailed Deer, from which our figure, description and 
measurements have been made. We regret exceedingly that we were so 
unfortunate as not to have been able to procure a male, the delineation 
of which we must leave to our successors. 

The habits of this animal approach more nearly those of the Elk, than 
ofeither the long-tailed or Virginian Deer. Like the former they remove 
far from the settlements, tly from the vicinity of the hunter's camp, and 
when once fairly started, run for a mile or two before they come to a 

The female produces one or two young, in the month of June. 

We have figured a female in summer pelage, and have represented the 
animal in an exhausted state, wounded through the body, and about to 
drop down, whilst the hunter is seen approaching, through the tall grass, 
anticipating the moment when she will reel and fall in her tracks. 


The Mule Deer range along the eastern sides of the Rocky Mountains, 
through a vast extent of country ; and according to Lewis and Clarke 
vol. II. — -J7. 


are the only species on the mountains in the vicinity of the first falls of the 
Columbia River. Their highest northern range, according to Richardson, is 
the banks of the Saskatchewan, in about latitude 54° ; they do not come to 
the eastward of longitude 105 in that parallel. He represents them as 
numerous on the Guamash flats, which border on the Kooskooskie River. 
We found it a little to the east of Fort Union on the Missouri River. It 
ranges north and south along the eastern sides of the Rocky Mountains 
through many parallels of latitude until it reaches north-western Texas, 
where it has recently been killed. 


Since the days of Lewis and Clarke, an impression has existed among na- 
turalists that there were two species of black-tailed Deer ; the one existing 
to the east of the Rocky Mountains, and the other, bordering on the Pacific, 
and extending through upper California. Although the descriptions of those 
fearless and enterprising travellers are not scientific, yet their accounts 
of the various species of animals, existing on the line of their travels, have 
in nearly every case been found correct, and their description of habits 
very accurate. They state that "the black-tailed fallow Deer are peculiar 
to this coast (mouth of the Columbia.) and are a distinct species, partaking 
equally of the qualities of the Mule and the common Deer (C. Virginianus.) 
The receptacle of the eye more conspicuous, their legs shorter, their bodies 
thicker and larger. The tail is of the same length with that of the common 
Deer, the hair on the under side, white ; and on its sides and top of a deep 
jetty black; the hams resembling in form and colour those of the Mule Deer, 
which it likewise resembles in its gait. The black-tailed Deer never runs 
at full speed, but bounds with every foot from the ground at the same time, 
like the Mule Deer. He sometimes inhabits the woodlands, but more often 
the prairies and open grounds. It may be generally said that he is of a size 
larger than the common Deer, and less than the Mule Deer. The flesh is 
seldom fat, and in flavour is far inferior to any other of the species ! It will 
be seen from the above, that they regarded the Mule Deer of the plains of 
Western Missouri as a distinct species from the black-tailed Deer, which 
existed along the Pacific coast near the Columbia river. 

Say gave the first scientific description of the Mule Deer, which he named 
" Ce?-vus Maa-otis," which having the priority we have retained. Richard- 
son, whilst at the Saskatchewan, sought to obtain specimens of this animal 
for description, but it being a season of scarcity, the appetites of the hunters 
proved superioT to their love of gain, and they devoured the Deer they had 
shot, even to their skins. When after his return to Europe, in 1829, he 


published the animals obtained in the expedition, he very properly added 
such other species as had been collected by the labours of Docglabs, Drvm. 
MOND and other naturalists, who had explored the northern and western 
portions of America. Finding in the Zoological Museum a specimen of 
black-tailed Deer, procured on the western coast of America h\ Doi i.lass> 
he concluded that it was the species described bj S \\ .('. macrotu ; at 
the close of his article, he refers to the animal mentioned by Lewis and 
Clarke, as the black-tailed Deer of the western coast, of which he states, 
that he had seen no specimen, designating it (F.B, Am. p. 357) C. macrotis, 
var. Columbiana. We hive, however, come to the conclusion that the 
animal described by RlCHARDSOH WHS tlie very western species to which 
Lewis and Clarke refer, and that whilst his description of the specimen 
wax correct, he erred in the name, he having described not the Mule Deer 
of Lewis and Clark and Sat, but the Columbian black-tailed Deer, our 
drawing of which was made from the identical specimen described and 
figured by Rt0HABD8ON. We have named it. after itstirst deseriber. Qervut 

The following characters will serve to designate the species. 

('. Richardsonii, considerably smaller than ('. macrotu, the male of the 
former species being smaller than the female of the latter. The hair of 
C. macrotis is very coarse and spongy, like that of the elk, that of C. 
Richardsoniiia much liner and more resembles that of the Virginian Deer. 
The C Richardsonii has no glandular opening on the outer surface of the 
hind leg below the knee joint, approaching in this particular the antelopes 
which are also without such openings, whilst the corresponding portion in 
C. macrotis is longer than that of any known species of Deer, being six inch- 
es in length. They differ in the shape of their horns, C. Richardsonii having 
the antlers more slender, much less knobbed, and less covered with sharp 
points than those of the latter. They are also destitute of the basal pro- 
cess, so conspicuous in C. macrotis. We regret exceedingly thai from cir- 
cumstances beyond our control, we have been enabled to give a ligure 
of the female only of C. macrotis, and of the male only of (\ Richardsonii. 
The former was figured from the specimen we obtained at Fort Union, 
and for the latter we are indebted to the directors of the Zool. Society of 
London, who very kindly permitted us to make a drawing from the spe- 
cimen previously described and figured by Richardson. 

Note. — In connection with this subject, we are deeply pained to he compelled to notice 
the obstructions thrown In the way of our pursuits by the directors of the National Institute 
a1 Washington, which city we visited shortij after the return of our exploring expedition, 
when we were kindly invited by Mr. Praia to an examination of the valuable specimens of 
Natural History, collected by our adventurous countrymen. We pointed out to him one 
or two skins of the bbek tailed Deer from the Western coast, whjjh we both agreed differed 


from the C. Macrotis of Say. We proposed to him that he should give a short descrip- 
tion of the species, and select the name, which we would afterwards adopt in our work — 
this is in accordance with the mode usually pursued, and would have only occupied an hour- 
After the lapse of several years, we made an application by letter to the directors of the 
Institution for the privilege of making a drawing of the specimen; this we were not only 
refused, but were even denied the privilege of looking at the specimen, which we were very 
anxious to see, in order to be enabled to point out in the most satisfactory manner the 
characteristics by which these two closely allied species of Deer inhabiting our country 
could be distinguished from each other. 

We cannot but contrast the narrow-minded policy pursued towards us in our application at 
Washington, with the liberality and generosity which was at all times extended to us in Europe 
under similar circumstances. When we visited England in 1838, the Directors of the Zoological 
Society opened its museum and assigned to us a private room, of which they gave us the 
key, and which we occupied for nearly a month — the specimens were taken from the cases 
by their attendants and brought to us, and when we discovered in the collection undescribed 
species, we were encouraged and aided in describing them. The same facilities were afforded 
us in the British museum, and in those of Edinburgh, Paris, Berlin, Dresden, and Zurich. 
The British Government, as well as our own, gave us all the assistance which could be 
rendered by either, consistent with other public services, and we derived material advantages 
from the aid afforded us by the revenue service and the various military stations we have 
visited in our researches, in Labrador — in Florida — in the far West, and in Texas. 

We know not who were the Directors of the National Institute when our reasonable 
request was so cavalierly rejected, nor have we inquired whether any changes in policy 
have since taken place in regard to the collection of animals at Washington, but we feel it 
our duty publicly to protest against a conduct so narrow, selfish, and inconsistent with the 
liberality of our free institutions and so little adapted to promote one of the objects sought 
to be gained by the exploring expedition — viz : the advancement of natural history. 

When the Hudsons Bay Company received an intimation that we would be glad to obtain 
any specimens they could furnish us from their trading posts in the arctic regions, they im- 
mediately gave orders to their agents and we secured from them rare animals and skins, pro- 
cured at considerable labour and expense, and sent to us without cost, knowing and believ- 
ing that in benefitting the cause of natural science they would receive a sufficient reward. 









SPERMOPHIU'S WW! l.ATUS.— Aud. and Bach. 


S. Super cervinus. pilis nigris, Lnterspersis, subtus albido. Cauda cor- 
pore longiore, nnnulis, 17-00 nisrris. 


Reddish-brown above, speckled with black beneath. Tail, which is longer 
than the body, annulated, nith from seventeen to twenty black bands. 


Sfekmophilcs Anni i ati <. Ami. it Bach. Transactions of the Academy of 
Natural Sciences. Oct. 5th, 1841. 


In size, this species is scarcely longer than the Hudson's Bay Squirrel. 
(S. Hudsonitu.) In the shape of the head it resembles Spermophilu.% 
Pam/i. The ears are quite small, being scarcely visible above its short 

coat of rather co.arse, adpressed hairs; they are thickly covered with hair 
on both surfaces. The nose is sharp : whiskers, (which are numerous! 
the length of the head. Eyes of moderate size, situated on the sides of the 
head. The os-frontis is rounded between the orbits, as in X. FVanklinii. 
The cheek pouches are pretty large, and open into the mouth immediately 
anterior to the grinders. The body is more slender than the spermophiles 
in general, and in this, and several other peculiarities which will be men- 
tioned, this species approaches the genus ScittrUS. On the fore-foot, a 
sharp, conical nail is inserted on the tubercle which represents the thumb. 
There are four toes, covered to the extremities with a close, smooth coal 
of hair. The first and the fourth toe are of equal length. The second 
and third, which are longest, are also uniform in length. The nails are 
short, crooked and sharp, like those of the Squirrels, and not like those of 
the Marmots and Spermophili in general, which are long and slender, 
and but slightly curved. The legs are long and slender. The hair on 
the back is rather short, and lies close and smooth. The short fur 
beneath this coarser hair is rather sparingly distributed. On the under 


surface, the hairs are longer, and so thinly and loosely scattered as to 
leave the skin visible in many places, especially on the abdomen, and 
inner surface of the thighs. The hind feet, which are thickly covered 
with short, smooth hairs, have five toes. The soles, as well as palms, are 
naked. The tail, by its great length and singular markings, presents 
a distinguishing peculiarity in this species ; it is flattened, and the hairs 
admit of a distichous arrangement ; but the tail is narrower, and less 
bushy than those of the Squirrels. 


The incisors are deep orange ; nails, brown ; whiskers, black ; nose and 
sides of the face, chestnut-brown. There is a line of soiled white above 
and around the eyes. The hairs on the upper surface are yellowish- 
brown at the roots, barred about the middle with black ; then another 
line of yellowish-brown and tipped with black, giving it a dark, greyish- 
brown, and in some lights a speckled appearance. The small spots are, 
however, no where well defined ; upper surface of the feet and legs, 
yellowish-brown ; the under parts, chin, throat, belly, and inner surface of 
the legs and thighs are white. The tail is annulated with about nineteen 
black, and the same number of cream-coloured bands, giving it a very con- 
spicuous appearance. These annulations commence about three inches 
from the root of the tail, and continue to be well defined till near the 
extremity, where the colours become more blended, and the rings are 
scarcely visible. On the under surface, the tail is pale reddish-brown, 
irregularly, and not very distinctly barred with black. 


Length from point of nose to root of tail, 

" tail vertebrae, - 

" to end of hair, ..... 

From heel to end of middle hind claw, - 
Height of ear, posteriorly, .-.--- 
Length of longest fore-claw, .... 

Length of longest hind claw, ..... 


We possess no knowledge of the habits of this species, but presume 
from its form, that it possesses the burrowing propensities of the genus. 
All the Spermophili avoid thickly wooded countries, and are either found 
in rocky localities, or burrowing in the prairies. 















The specimen we have described above, was obtained on the Western 
Prairies, we believe on the east of the Mississippi river : the locality was 
not particularly stated. It was politely presented to us by Professor 
Spencer F. Baird, of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, a young Naturalist of emi- 
nent attainments. 

general remarks. 

In every department of Natural History, a species is occasionally found 
which forms the connecting link between two genera, rendering it doubt- 
ful under which genus it should properly be arranged. Under Mich cir- 
cumstances, the Naturalist is obliged to ascertain, by careful examination, 
the various predominating characteristics, and finally, place it under the 
genus to which it bears the closest allinity in all its details. The Sper- 
niophili are intermediate in character between the Squirrels and Mar- 
mots. They have the lightness of form of the former, and burrow in the 
ground like the hitter. By their cheek pouches, of which the true Squir- 
rels and Marmots are destitute, the} are distinguished from both. The 
second inner toe on the forefoot of the Spermophili is the longest, whilst 
in the Squirrels the third is longest. Hut in these closelv-allied 
genera, there are species which approach those of another genua 
Thus our Maryland Marmot, (.1 Wonax,) has a rudimentary cheek-pouch, 
in which a pea might be inserted, yel in every other particular it is a 
true Aittomys. The downy Squirrel, (Scivrut lanugitmsue, sec Journal 
\cacl. Nat. Science, Vol. 8th, part 1st. p. t;7.) by its short ears, broad 
head, and not very distichous tail, approaches the Spermophili, yet by its 
being destitute of cheek-pouches, by its soft, downy fur, and its hooked, 
sharp claws, of which the third, as in the Squirrels, is longest, it is more 
allied to Sciurus. On the other hand, the species now under considera- 
tion has the long legs, slender form, and sharp, hooked claws of the 
Squirrel. The two middle toes of the fore-feel being of equal length, 
prove its affinity to both genera; but in the sreneral shape of its body, its 
cheek pouches, its short ears, and smooth, rigid hair, it must be regarded 
as belonging to the genus Spermophilus. We consider this species and 
the downy Squirrel as connecting links between Sciurus and Spermo- 
philus, as we regard Sciurus Hudson ins the connecting link between 
Tamias and Sciurus. 



Leconte's Pine-Mouse. 
PLATE LXXX.— Male and Female. 

A. Capite crasso ; naso obtuso ; vellere curto ; molli bombycino, instar 
velleri Talpee ; supra fusco-cana, subtus plumbeo. 


Head large, nose blunt; fur short, soft, silky and lustrous, like that of the 
mole. Colour, above, brown, beneath, plumbeous. 


Psammomy's Pinetorcm, Le Conte, Annals of the Lyceum of Natural History 

of New- York, Vol. III. p. 3, p. 2. 
Arvicola Scalopsoides, Mole Arvicola. Aud. and Bach. Transactions Acad. 

Nat. Sciences, October, 1841. 
Arvicola Oneida, De Kay, Nat. Hist., N. Y., p. 88. 


This species bears some resemblance to Wilson's Meadow Mouse ; it 
is, however, less in size, and its fur is shorter, more compact and glossy ; 
body rather stout, short and cylindrical ; head large and short ; nose blunt, 
and hairy, except the nostrils, which are naked ; incisors of moderate 
size ; moustaches, fine, and nearly all short, a few reaching the ear ; 
eyes very small ; auditory openings large ; ears very short, not visi- 
ble beyond the fur, thin and membranous, with a few scattered hairs 
on the upper margin ; neck short and thick ; legs short and slender, 
covered with very short, adpressed hairs, not concealing the nails ; 
palms naked. There are four toes on the fore foot, of which the 
second, on the inner side, is the longest, the first and third nearly equal, 
and the fourth shortest ; in place of a thumb, there is a minute, straight, 
but not blunt, nail. The hind feet have five toes, the middle longest, 
the two next on each side being of equal length, and a little shorter 
than the middle one ; the inner toe is considerably shorter, and the 
fourth, placed far back, is the shortest. The nails are weak, nearly 
straight, sharp, but not hooked. The fur on the whole body is short, 
compact and soft, and on the back, glossy. 



> N 

x 4 



The eyes are black ; nostrils flesh-colour ; incisors light yellowish ; 
moustaches nearly all white, with a few interspersed of a dark brown 
colour. Hair from the root plumbeous, tipped on the upper surface with 
glossy brown. These tips are so broad that they conceal the ashy-grey 
colours beneath ; cheeks chestnut-brown, upper surface of tail, brown, 
feet, light-brown, nails, whitish. The hairs on the under surface are 
shorter than those on the back, and instead of being broadly tipped with 
brown, like those on the back, are very slightly tipped with very pale 
brown and whitish, giving the chin, throat, neck and inner surface of legs 
and whole under surface of body a pale ash colour. The line of demarc- 
ation between the colours of the back and under surface, is very distinct 
in most specimens, commencing on the edges of the mouth, running along 
the sides ( it' the neck, thence along the shoulder, including the fore legs — 
along the sides, the two opposite lines meeting near the loot of the tail. 
We have observed in this species a considerable difference in different 
specimens, both in size and colour, having met some which were but 
little more than three inches long, whilst, others were five. In some, the 
colours on the back were of a much deeper brown than in others, whilst 
in others, tlu^ brown markings on the cheeks were altogether wanting. 
It should be observed that in this species, as well as in all our field mice, 
the colours are much lighter, and inclined to cinereous after the shedding 
of the hair in summer ; the colours gradually deepen and become brighter 
toward autumn and winter, and are most conspicuously dark brown in 



From point of nose to root of tail, ------ 34 

Tail. i 

Another Specimen. 

Length of head and body, - - - - - • - 4 i 

Tail. a 


The manners of this species do not differ very widely from those exhibit- 
ed by many other field mice. They however, avoid low grounds, so much 
the resort of the meadow mice, and prefer higher and drier soils. 

This mouse is rather an inhabitant of cultivated fields than of woods, and 
is seldom found in the forest far removed from the vicinity of plantations, to 
which it resorts, not only to partake of the gleanings of the fields, but to lay 
its contributions on the products of the husbandman's labours, claiming a 
share before the crops are gathered. In the Northern states, it is found 
Vol. ii.— 28. 


in potato fields and in vegetable gardens, gnawing holes into the sides of the 
potatoes, carrots, ruta-baga, and common turnips, following the rows where 
green peas and corn have been planted, bringing down threats of ven- 
geance from the farmer on the poor ground mole, which, feeding only on 
worms, is made a kind of cat's-paw by this mischievous little field mouse, 
which does the injury in most cases, whilst the other is saddled with the 
blame. In the South it is, next to the Norway rat, the most troublesome 
visitant of the cellars and banks in which the sweet potato is stored, 
destroying more than it consumes, by gnawing holes into the tubers, and 
causing them to rot. Wherever a bed of Guinea corn, Egyptian millet, 
or Guinea grass is planted, there you will soon observe numerous holes 
and nests of this species. We have recently seen an instance where a 
large bed of kohlrabi was was nearly destroyed by it ; the bulbs appear- 
ing above the surface were gnawed into holes, which, in some instances, 
penetrated to the centre. Our friend, the owner, had, as usual, laid the 
mischief on the broad shoulders of the hated and persecuted ground mole, 
of whose galleries not a trace could be seen in the vicinity. A number 
of small holes at the root of a stump, in the garden, indicated the true 
author of these depredations, and on digging, about a dozen of Le- 
conte's field Mice were captured. This species is particularly fond of 
the pea or ground nut, (hypogea.) On examining the beds where this 
nut is cultivated, we have observed the rows on whole acres perforated 
in every direction by small holes, giving evidence that this troublesome 
little pest had been at work. In endeavouring to save and collect the 
seeds of the Gama grass, (Tripsacum dactyloides,) we generally found 
ourselves forestalled by this active and voracious little rat. 

This species has young three or four times during the summer. One 
which we had in confinement, produced young three times, having three, 
seven, and four, in the different broods. The young were nearly all raised, 
but, when full-grown, became pugnacious and persecuted each other so 
much that we were obliged to separate them. They were almost exclu- 
sively fed on ground nuts, corn meal and sweet potatoes, but seemed to 
relish both boiled rice and bread. We have seen nine young taken from 
one nest. 

The nest of this species is generally found under ground, at the distance 
of about a foot from the surface ; it is small, and composed of light, loose 
materials, collected in the vicinity. 

This prolific field rat possesses many enemies to diminish its numbers. 
The house cat not only watches for it about the fields and gardens, but is 
fond of devouring it, whilst the bodies of shrews and ground moles are 
not eaten. The very common Owl, (Syrnium nebulosum,) the Barn 


Owl (Strix Americana,) the Weasel, Ermine, and Mink, all make this 
species a considerable part of their subsistence. 

The only note we have ever heard from this mouse is a low squeak, 
only uttered when it is cither struck suddenly or greatly alarmed. In a 
state of confinement it was remarkably silent, except when two were en- 
gaged in fighting. 


Le Conte's Field Mouse has an extensive geographical range. We 
have received specimens from our friend, Dr. Brewer, obtained in Massa- 
chusetts. It is found in Connecticut, is quite abundant on the farms in 
Rhode-Island, and in the immediate vicinity of New-York. We found it 
at Milestown, a few miles from Philadelphia Mr. 11' ffik si d1 us several 
specimens from Virginia. We procured it in North Carolina, and re- 
ceived a specimen from Dr. Barritt. Abbeville. South Carolina. It 
becomes more abundant as you approach the seaboard, in Carolina and 

Georgia : and we have specimens sent In us from Alabama, Mississippi and 
Florida. We have traced it no farther south, have not heard of it to the 

west of the Mississippi, and are informed that it does not exist in Texas. 

R \l. RIM VRKS. 

From the diminutive figure in Wilson's Ornithology, we might be led 
to the conjecture that he had this little species in view. The accui 
description given by Ord, applies, however, only to the Arvicola Perm- 
sylvanica. The first scientific description that appears of this species was 
given by Lb Con rs, ( Annals of the Lyceum of I\*at. Hist. N. V.. Vol. III., 
p. .">.) Finding that there were some variations in the dentition from the 
long established genus Arvicola. he formed for it anew genus, under the 
name of Psamomys. As this name, however, had been pre-occupied by 
RuPPEL foran Arabian species, the American translator. (Dr. McMirtru.) 
of Cuvikr's Animal Kingdom, proposed changing the genus to Pitymis. Pine 
Mouse. The variations in the teeth, however, we have found by compari- 
son, do not afford sufficient characters to warrant us in removing it from Ar- 
vicola, to which, from its shape and habits, it seems legitimately to belong. 

We do not feel warranted in changing the specific name of Le Ci 
but that name is not expressive of one of its characteristics, as. although it 
may have been found in the pine woods, we have never, in a single in- 
stance, detected it in such localities. We have always found it either in 
the open fields, or along fences, in the vicinity of gardens and farms. 

This species is subject to many changes in colour, and is so variable in 
size, that it is easy to mistake it : hence we have added as synonymes, our 
A. Scalopsoidcs. and the A. Oneida of Dr. De Kay. 



Common American Deer. 

PLATE CXXXVI. — Male and Female.— Winter pelage. 

C. cornibus mediocribus, ramosis, sub-complanatis, retrorsum valde in- 
clinatis, dein antrorsum versis ; ramo basali-interno retrorso ; ramis 
plurimis posticis, retrorsum et sursum spectantibus, sinubus subovbitalibus 
plicam cutaneam formantibus ; vellere aestate fulvo, hyeme canescente- 


Horns middle shed, tending to flatten, strongly bent back and then for- 
wards ; a basal antler on the internal side, pointing backwards ; several 
snags on the posterior edge, turned to the rear, and upwards ; suborbital sinus 
making a fold; colour, fulvous in summer, gray-brown in winter. 


Virginian Deer. Penn. Syn., p. 51 

« " Penn. Quadrupeds. Vol. 1, p. 104. 

« " Shaw's General Zoology. Vol. 2, p. 284. 

Amerikanischer Hirsch. Kalm Keise. Vol. 2, p. 326. 3d. p. 482. 
Virginischer Hirsch. Zimmerm. Geogr. Gesch. Vol. 2, p. 129. 
Cerf de la Louisiane. Cut. Eegn. An., lere p. 256. 
Cervus Virginianus. Gmel. Vol. 1, p. 179. 
Dama Americanos. Erxl. Syst., p. 312. 
C. Virginianus. Harlan. Fauna Am., p. 239. 

Godm. Am. Nat. Hist, Vol. 2. p. 306. 
C. Mexicanus et clavatus. Hamilton Smith, p. 31 5. Griff. Cuv. Vol. 4. p. 127. 

Vol. 5, p. 315. 
C. Virginianus. Dekay's N. Y. Fauna, p. 113. 


Muzzle sharp ; head rather long ; eyes large and lustrous ; lachrymal 
pits covered by a fold of the skin. Tail moderately depressed. Legs 




slender. A glandular pouch surrounded by a thick tuft of rigid hairs in- 
side of the hind legs. 


The Virginian Deer varies considerably in colour at different period* of 
the year. In the spring it is of a dusky reddish or fulvous colour above, 
extending over the whole head. back, upper surface of the tail and along 
the sides. In the autumn it is of a bluish or lead colour, and in winter 
the hairs on the upper surface are longer and more dense and of a brown- 
ish dark tint. Beneath the chin, throat, belly, inner surface of legs, and 
under side of tail, white. There is no perceptible difference in colour be- 
tween the sexes. 

The fawns are at lirst. bright reddish-brown, spotted with irregular lon- 
gitudinal rows of white. These spots become less visible as the animal 
grows older, and in the course of about four months the hairs are replaced 
by others, and it assumes the colour of the old ones. 


Feet. Inches. 

Length from nose to root of tail, 5 4 
" of tail, (vertebra), ..... g 

" including hairs. ..... j \ 

" Height of ear, ..... 5^ 


Perhaps no species of wild animal inhabiting North- America, deserves to 
be regarded with more interest than the subject of our present article, the 
Common or Virginian Deer: its symmetrical form, graceful curving leap 

or bound, and its rushing speed, when, flying before its pursuers, it pa 

like a meteor by the startled traveller in the forest, exciting admiration, 
though he be ever so dull an observer. 

The tender, juicy, savoury, and above all. digestible qualities of its flesh 
are well known ; and venison is held in highest esteem from the camp of 
the backwoodman to the luxurious tables of the opulent, and, when not 
kept too long ( a common error in our large cities by the way) a fat haunch 
with jelly and chafing dishes is almost as much relished, as a "hunter's 
steak," cooked in the open air on a frosty evening far away in the west. 
I'he skin is of the greatest service to the wild man, and also useful to the 
dweller in towns ; dressed and smoked by the squaw, until soft and pliable, 


it will not shrink with all the wettings to which it is exposed. In the form 
of mocasins, leggings, and hunting shirts, it is the most material part of the 
dress of many Indian tribes, and in the civilized world is used for breeches, 
gloves, gaiters, and various other purposes. 

From the horns are made beautiful handles for various kinds of cutlery. 

The timidity of the Deer is such, that it hurries away, even from the 
sight of a child, and it is but seldom that the hunter has any danger to ap- 
prehend, even from a wounded buck ; it does but little injury to the fields 
of the planter, and is a universal favourite with old and young of both sexes 
in our Southern States. 

The Virginian, or as we wish to designate it, the Common Deer, is the 
only large animal, if we except the bear, that is not driven from the vici- 
nity of man by the report of the deer-driver's gun, or the crack of the hun- 
ter's rifle ; the buffalo and the elk are now rarely seen east of the Mis- 
sissippi. Hunted by hounds and shot at from day to day, the Deer may re- 
treat from this persecution for a little while, but soon returns again to its 
original haunts. Although it scarcely ever occupies the same bed on suc- 
cessive nights, yet it is usually found in the same range, or drive as it is 
called, and often not fifty yards from the place, where it was started before. 
It is fond of lingering around fences and old fields, that are partially over- 
spread with brush-wood, briar-patches and other cover, to screen it from 
observation. In the southern States the Deer, especially in summer when 
they are least disturbed, are fond of leaping the outer fences of plantations, 
lying through the day in some tangled thicket, overgrown with cane, vines 
and briars ; and in such places you may be so fortunate as to start an old 
buck in August or September, and many an overgrown denizen of the 
forest has bowed his huge antlers and fallen a sacrifice to his temerity in 
seeking a resting-place too near some pea-patch, where his hoofs left traces 
for many weeks of his nightly depredations. 

This habit of resting during the day in the near vicinity of their feed- 
ing ground, is however not universal. We during last summer were 
invited to visit a large cornfield in which a quantity of the Carolina cow- 
pea had been planted among the corn. This had been the nightly resort 
of the Deer during the whole summer — their tracks of various sizes cov- 
ered the ground, as if flocks of sheep had resorted to it, and scarcely a 
pod or even a leaf was remaining on the vines. The Deer, however, were 
not in the vicinity, where there were several favourable and extensive 
covers ; they were trailed to some small islands, in a marsh nearly two 
miles off. We ascertained that the Deer inhabiting the swamps on the 
east side of the Edisto river, where there are but few cultivated farms, 
were in the nightly habit of swimming the Edisto and visiting the pea- 


fields in Barnwell, on the opposite side, returning before dn\ -light to theit 
customary haunts, some lour or live miles distant. 

The localities selected by Deer as places of rest and concealment dur- 
ing the day are various, such as the season of the year and the natun 
the country and climate may suggest to the instincts of the animal. Al- 
though we have occasionally in mountainous regions, especially in the 

higher mountains of Virginia and the Green Mountains of Vermont, de- 
tected a Deer lying without concealment on an elevated ledge of b 
rock, like the ibex and chamois on the Alps, yel as a genera] habit, the 
animal may be said to seek concealment, either among clumps of myrtle 
or laurel bushes, (Kalmia), in large fallen tree-tops, briar-patches, clus- 
ters of alder bushes, (alnus), or in tall broom-grass, (Awlropogon disaitir 
floras). In cold weather it prefers Seeking ils repose in some sheltered 
dry situation, where it is protected from the wind, and wanned by the 
rays of the sun; and on these occasions i! may be found in briar-pat 
which lace the south, or in luiis of broom-grass in old uncultivated Gelds. 
In warm weather it retires during the day to shady swamps, .-mil may of- 
ten be Started from a (dump of alder or myrtle bushes near some rivulet 

or cool stream. To avoid the persecution of moschetoes and ticks, i( oc- 
casionally, like the moose in Maine, resorts to some stream or pond and 
lies for a time immersed in the water, from which the nose and a part of 
the head only project. We recollect an occasion, when on sitting down 
to rest on the margin of the Santee river, we observed a pair of antlers 
on the surface of the water near an old tree, not ten steps from us. The 

half-closed eye of the buck was upon us: we were without a gun, and he 
was. therefore, safe from any injury we could inflict on him. Anxious to 
observe the cunning he would display, we turned our eyes another way, 
and commenced a careless whistle. ;is if for our own amusement, wall 
gradually towards him in a circuitous route, until we arrived within a 
few feet of him. He had now sunk so deep in the water that an inch 
only of his nose, and slight portions of his prongs were seen above the 
surface. We again sat down on the bank for some minutes, pretending 
to read a book. Ai length we suddenly directed our eyes towards him. 
and raised our hand, when he rushed to the shore, and dashed through the 
rattling canehrake, in rapid style. 

The food of the common Deer varies at different periods of the year. In 
winter, it feeds on buds of several kinds of shrubs, such as the wild rose 
the hawthorn, various species of bramble, (Rubiis.) the winter green 
(Pyrola,) the Partridge Berry. (Witchrlln rrpms,) the Deer Leaf, (// 
tinc/oria,) the. bush Honeysuckle. (A-ulra.) and many others. In spring 
and summer it subsists on tender grasses, being very select in its choice 


and dainty in its taste. At these seasons it frequently leaps fences, and 
visits the fields of the planter, taking an occasional bite at his young wheat 
and oats, not overlooking the green corn, (Make.) and giving a decided 
preference to a field planted with cow-peas, which it divests of its young 
pods and tender leaves; nor does it pass lightly by berries of all kinds, 
such as the Huckleberry, Blackberry and Sloe, (Viburnum prunifolium.) 
We are informed by a friend that in the vicinity of Nashville, (Tenessee,) 
there is an extensive park containing about three hundred Deer, the prin- 
cipal food of which is the luxuriant Kentucky blue-grass, (Poa pratensis.) 
In autumn it finds an abundance of very choice food in the chestnuts, chin- 
quepins and beech-nuts strewn over the ground. The localities of the 
various oaks are resorted to, and we have seen its tracks most abundantly 
under the Live Oak, (Quercus virens,) the acorns of which it appears to 
prefer to all others. We once observed three deer feeding on these acorns, 
surrounded by a flock of wild turkeys, all eagerly engaged in claiming 
their share. The fruit of the Persimmon tree, after having been ripened 
by the frosts of winter, falls to the ground, and also becomes a favourite 
food of the Deer. 

Possessing such a choice of food, we might suppose this animal would 
be always fat : this, however, is not the case, and, except at certain 
seasons of the year, the Deer is rather poor. The bucks are always 
in fine order from the month of August to November, when we have 
seen some that were very fat. One which we killed weighed one 
hundred and seventy-five pounds. We have been informed that some 
have reached considerably over two hundred pounds. In November, and 
sometimes a little earlier, the rutting season commences in Carolina, when 
the neck of the buck begins to dilate to a large size. He is now con- 
stantly on foot, and nearly in a full run, in search of the does. On meet- 
ing with other males, tremendous battles ensue, when, in some rare in- 
stances, the weaker animal is gored to death ; generally, however, he flies 
from the vanquisher, and follows him, crest fallen, at a respectful and 
convenient distance, ready to turn on his heels and scamper off" at the first 
threat of his victorious rival. In these rencontres, the horns of the com- 
batants sometimes become interlocked in such a manner that they cannot 
be separated, and the pugnacious bucks are consigned to a lingering and 
inevitable death by starvation. We have endeavoured to disengage these 
horns, but found them so completely entwined that no skill or strength of 
ours was successful. We have several times seen two, and on one occa- 
sion, three pairs of horns thus interlocked, and ascertained that the skulls 
and skeletons of the Deer had always been found attached. These battles 
only take place during the rutting season, when the horns are too firmly 


attached to be separated from the skull. Indeed, we have seen a horn 
shot off in the middle by a ball, whilst the stump still continued firmly 
seated on the skull. The ratting season continues about two months. 
the largest and oldest does being earliest sought for, and those of eighteen 
months at a later period. About the month of January, the bucks 
drop their horns, when, as if conscious of having been shorn of their 
strength and honours, they seem humbled, and congregate peaceably 
with each other, seeking the concealment of the woods, until they can 
once more present their proud antlers to the admiring herd. Immediately 
after the rutting season, the bucks begin to grow lean. Their incessant 
travelling during the period of venery— their fierce battles with their 
rivals, and the exhaustion consequent on shedding and replacing their 
horns by a remarkably rapid growth, render them emaciated and feeble 
for several months. About three weeks after the old antlers have been 
shed, the elevated knobs of the young horns make their appearance. 
They are at firsl suit and tender, containing numerous blood-vessels, and 
the slightest injury causes them to bleed freely. They pii>sr^ a conside- 
rable degree of heat, grow rapidly, branch off into several ramifications, 
and gradually harden. They are covered with a soft, downy skin, and 
arc now in what is oiled "velvet." When the horns are fully grown, 
which is usually in July Or August, the buck shows a restless propensity 
to rid himself of the velvet covering, which has now lost its heat, and 
become dry. hence he is constantly engaged in rubbing his horns against 
bushes and saplings, often destroying the trees by wounding and tearing 
the bark, and by twisting and breaking off" the tops. The system of bony 
development now ceases altogether, and the horns become smooth, hard, 
and solid. 

The does are fattest from November to January. They gradually get 
thinner as the season of parturition approaches, and grow lean whilst 
suckling their young. 

The young are, in Carolina, produced in the month of April : young 
does, however, seldom yean till May or June. In the Northern States, 
they bring forth a little later, whilst in Florida and Texas the period is 
earlier. It is a remarkable, but well ascertained fact, that in Alabama 
and Florida, a majority of the fawns are produced in November. The 
doe conceals her young under a prostrate tree-top, or in a thick covert of 
grass, visiting them occasionally during the day. especially in ihc morn- 
ing, evening, and at night The young fawns, when only a few days old, 
are often found in so sound a sleep that we have, on several occasions, 
seen them taken up in the arms before they became conscious that they 
were captives. They are easily domesticated, and attach themselves to 
vol. n. — 29. 


their keepers in a few hours. A friend possesses a young deer that, 
when captured, during the last summer, was placed with a she goat, 
which reared it, and the parties still live in habits of mutual attachment. 
We have seen others reared by a cow. A goat, however, becomes the 
best foster-mother. They breed in confinement, but we have found them 
troublesome pets. A pair that we had for several yeats, were in the 
habit of leaping into our study through the open window, and when the 
sashes were down they still bounced through, carrying along with them 
the shattered glasses. They also seemed to have imbibed a vitiated and 
morbid taste, licked and gnawed the covers of our books, and created con- 
fusion among our papers. No shrub in the garden, however valuable to 
us, was sacred to them; they gnawed our carriage harness, and finally 
pounced upon our young ducks and chickens, biting off their rteads and 
feet, leaving the body untouched. 

The doe does not produce young until she is two years old, when she 
has one fawn. If in good order, she has two the following year. A very 
large and healthy doe often produces three, and we were present at Goose 
Creek when an immense one, killed by J. W. Audubon, was ascertained, 
on being opened, to contain four large and well formed fawns. The 
average number of fawns in Carolina is two, and the cases where three 
are produced are nearly as numerous as those in which young does pro- 
duce only one at a birth. 

The wild doe is attached to her young, and its bleat will soon bring her 
to its side, if she is within hearing. The Indians use a stratagem, by 
imitating the cry of the fawn, with a pipe made of a reed, to bring up 
the mother, which is easily killed by their arrows. We have twice 
observed the doe called up by this imitation of the voice of the young. 
She is, however, so timid that she makes no effort in defence of her cap- 
tured offspring, and bounds off at the sight of man. 

The common Deer is a gregarious animal, being found on our western 
prairies in immense scattered herds of several hundred. After the 
rutting season the males, as we have before stated, herd together and it is 
only during the season of intercourse that both sexes are found in com 
pany. The does, however, although congregating during a considerable 
portion of the year, are less gregarious than many species of African an- 
telopes, the buffalo, or our domestic sheep; as they are found during the 
summer separated from the rest of the gang or troop, and are only accom- 
panied by their young. 

The Deer is one of the most silent of animals, and scarcely possesses 
any notes of recognition. The fawn has a gentle bleat that might be 
heard by the keen ears of its mother at the distance probably of a hundred 


vards We have never heard the voice of the female beyond a mere 
murmur when calling; her young, except when shot, when she often bleats 
loudly like a calf in pain. The buck when suddenly started sometimes 
utters a snort, and we have at nighl heard him emitting a shrill whistling 
SOUndj not unlike that of the chamois of the Alps, that could be 
heard al the distance of half a mile. The keen sense of smell the 
Deer possess enables them to follow each other's tracks. W< have ob- 
served them smelling on the ground and thus following each other's 
trail I'or miles. We were on an autumnal morning seated on a log 
in the pine lands of Carolina when a doe came running past 11s. In the 
course often minutes we observed a buck in pursuit) with his nose near 
the ground, following in all the windings of her course. Half an hour 
afterwards came a second buck, and during another interval a third small 
buck pursued the same trail. The sighl appears imperfect — as 

we have often, when standing still, perceived the Deer passing within a 

few yards without observing us, but we have often noticed the affrighted 
start when we moved our position or when they scented us by the wind. 
On one occasion We had tied our horse tor some time at a stand ; — on his 

becoming restless we removed him to a distance — a Deer pursued by 
dogs ran near the spot where the horse had originally stood, caught the 
scent, started suddenly back, and passed within a few feet of the spot 
where we were Standing, without having observed us. Their sense ot 
hearing is as keen as that of smell. In crawling towards them in an open 
wood, against the wind, you may approach within gain shot, but if you 
unfortunately break a stick, or create a rustling among the leaves, they 
start away in an instant. 

This animal cannot exist without water, being obliged nightly to visit 
some stream or spring for the purpose of drinking. During the present 
year (1850) a general drought prevailed throughout our southern countrv. 
On the Hunting Islands between Beaufort and Savannah, the Deer, we 
were informed, nearly all perished in consequence of the streams on 
these Islands having dried up. Deer are fond of salt, and like many 
other wild animals resort instinctively to salt-licks or saline springs. 
The hunters, aware of this habit, watch at these " licks." as they are 
called, and destroy vast numbers of them. \Y'. have visited some of these 
pools, and seen the Deer resorting: to them in the mornings and evenings 
and by moon light They did not appear to visit them for the mere purpose 
of drinking, but after walking around the sides, commenced licking the 
stones and the earth on the edges, preferring in this manner to obtain this 
agreeable condiment, to taking; a sudden draught and then retiring. On 
the contrary they lingered for half .an hour around the spring, and after 


having strayed away for some distance, they otten returned a second and 
even a third time to scrape the sides of it, and renew the licking process. 
Our common Deer may be said to be nocturnal in its habits, yet on the 
prairies, or in situations where seldom disturbed, herds of Deer may be 
seen feeding late in the morning and early in the afternoon. Their 
time for rest, in such situations, is generally the middle of the day. In 
the Atlantic States, where constantly molested by the hunters, they are 
seldom seen after sunrise, and do not rise from their bed until the dusk of 
the evening. The Deer is more frequently seen feeding in the day time 
during spring and summer, than in winter ; a rainy day, and snowy 
wintery weather, also invite it to leave its uncomfortable hiding place 
and indulge in its roaming habits. We have no doubt, that in localities 
where Deer have been constantly hunted, they, from a sense of fear, 
allow you to approach much nearer to their place of concealment than 
in situations where they are seldom disturbed. They continue lying 
still, not because they are asleep or unaware of your approach, but because 
they are afraid to expose themselves to view, and hope by close con- 
cealment to be passed without being observed. We have seen them 
lying with their hind legs drawn under them ready for a spring — their 
ears pressed flat on the sides of the neck, and their eyes keenly watch- 
ing every movement of the intruder. Under these circumstances your 
only chance of success is to ride slowly around the animal as if he 
was not observed, and suddenly fire before he leaps from his bed. 
This effect of fear, on your near approach, is not confined to our Deer; 
it may be seen in the common partridge, the snipe, and other game 
birds. Before being hunted, they are restless — are unwilling to assume 
the crouching posture called setting, and rise at a distance from their 
pursuers ; but after having been a few times disturbed and shot at, they, 
in the language of sportsmen, become tame, and permit themselves to be 
nearly trodden on before they can be induced to rise ; this apparent 
tameness is in reality wildness, and their squatting and hiding the effect 
of terror to which they are prompted by an instinct of self-preservation. 
The gait of this Deer is various. In walking it carries its head very 
low, and pursues its course cautiously and silently, occasionally moving 
its ears and whisking its tail ; the largest animal is usually the leader of 
the herd, which travel in what is called Indian file, there seldom being 
two abreast. Walking is the ordinary pace of the Deer unless frightened, 
or in some state of excitement. When first started, without being much 
alarmed, it gives two or three springs, alighting with apparent awk- 
wardness on three feet — and immediately afterwards resting on the oppo- 
site side, erecting its white tail and throwing it from side to side. A fe w 


biirh bounds succeed, whilst the head is turned in every direction toon 
i* to detect the cause of alarm. The leaps and high boundings of the 
Deer are so graceful thai we have never witnessed them without exi 

nl and admiration. When, however, the Deer observes you before it is 
routed from its bed, il bolts off with a rush, running low to the ground, 
with its head and tail on n line with the body, and lor a few hundred yards 
rivalling the speed of a race horse. l>nt this rattling pace cannol be kept. 
up for any length of time — after the Erst burst its speed slackens, ii loams 
at the mouth, and exhibits other evidences of fatigue. We have some- 
times seen it overtaken and turned by an active rider in the open wood, 
and under other favourable circumstances, and on on on a fa! buck 

was headed by a fearless driver, lashed with his whip, brought to bay, 
and finally knocked in the head and taken without having been shot. 
We have witnessed a few instances where a pack of hounds, after a four 
hour-* chase, succeeded in running down a Deer. These cases are, how ever, 
rave, nor would we give any encouragement to this furious Sylvan i 
in which the horse and his mad rider are momentarily exposed to the 
danger of a broken neck from the many holes in the pine lands. The Deer, 
after an attempt al bringing ii to hay. frequently succeeds in escaping 
from the hunter and the hounds, by dashing into a swamp or crossing a 
river, and even should it be captured, after a long chase the venison is 
found to be insipid and of no value. 

In riding through the woods at night in the vicinity of Deer, we have 
often heard them stamp their feet, the bucks on such occasions giving a 
loud snort, then bounding off for a few yards and again repeating the 
Stamping and snorting, which appear to be nocturnal habits. 

Deer lake the water freely, and swim with considerable rapidity : their 
bodies are on such occasions submerged, their heads only being 
visible above the surface. We have witnessed them crossing broad rivers 
and swimming; the distance of two miles. When thus under way. they 
cleave the water with such celerity that a boat nn scarcely overtake 

Along our southern sea-board the Peer, when fatigued by the hounds, 
plunge into the surf and swim otf for a mile or two, floating; or swim- 
ming; back with the returning tide, when they ascend the beach near the 
same place where they entered the water. 

As already remarked, the flesh of our common Deer is the best flavoured 
and most easy of digestion of all the species with which we art- acquainted, 
except the black-tailed Deer : il is superior to the Elk or Moose of our 
country, or the red Deer or Roebuck of Europe. It is, however, only a 
delicacy when it is fat, which is generally the case from the beginning of 


August to the month of December. In Carolina, the haunch and loin 
only are served up on the tables of the planters, the shoulders and skin 
are the perquisites of the driver, or negro huntsman. The Indians eat 
every part of the Deer, not omitting the entrails and the contents of the 
stomach — the latter many of the tribes devour raw, without subjecting 
them to any cooking or roasting process. It is stated, even by white men, 
that the stomach, with all its half-digested ingredients, is very palatable. 
Hunger and hardships seldom fail to give a zest to the appetite. Vege- 
table food is scarce in the wilderness or on the prairies. The traveller 
who has long been obliged to sleep in a tent and make his toilet in the 
woods, soon becomes indifferent to the etiquette of civilized life, and does 
not inquire whether his dish has been prepared according to the recipe of 
the cookery-books. A Deer paunch contains a mixture of many ingre- 
dients, picked up from various shrubs, seeds, and grasses, and may become 
a substitute for vegetables where the kitchen-garden has not yet been in- 
troduced. According to a northern traveller (Lyon's Narrative, p. 242), 
who referred, however, to another animal, the reindeer of our continent, 
it is " acid and rather pungent, resembling a mixture of sorrel and radish 
leaves," its smell like li fresh brewer's grains." As we have never been 
subjected to the necessity of testing the virtues of this primitive chowder, 
we are unable to pronounce it a delicacy, and must leave the decision to 
those who may be disposed to make the experiment. 

The capture of the common Deer exercised the ingenuity and patience 
of the Indian, ages before the pale faces intruded on his hunting-grounds, 
with their rifles, their horses, and hounds. He combatted with the wolf 
and the cougar for their share of the prey, leaving on our minds a melan- 
choly impression of the near approach of the condition of savage life to 
that of the brute creation. Different modes of hunting were suggest- 
ed by the peculiar face of the localities of the country, and the de- 
grees of intelligence or native cunning of the several tribes. The bow 
and arrow evidently must have been in common use throughout the whole 
length and breadth of our land, as the numerous arrow-heads still every 
where turned up by the plough abundantly attest. 

The Rein Deer, inhabiting the extensive, cold, and inhospitable regions 
of the British possessions to the north of Quebec, were caught in snares 
manufactured from the hide, and sometimes of the sinews, of the animal. 
During the season of their annual migrations, rude fences of brush-wood 
were constructed, which were a mile or two apart at the entrance, nar- 
rowing down to nearly a point at the other end, in which the snares were 
placed, and at. the termination of this " cul de sac " was erected a high 
fence or pound, secured by stakes, stones, and other strong materials, in 


which the Deer that escaped from the snares were finally enclosed and 
shot with arrows. The common Deer, however, is more suspicious and 
timid, and will seldom Buffer itself to he circumvented in this manner. 

The American Rein Deer is also brought near to the hunter lying in wait 
behind the concealment of a clump of bushes, or beap of stones, by the 
waving of a small (lag of cloth, or a deer's tail, which, exciting its atten- 
tion, it falls a sacrifice to its curiosity. This stratagem is also successfully 
practised on our western prong-horned Antelope. 

The Common Deer is frequently brought within bowshot by the Indians, 
who call up the does, as we have alreadj mentioned, by imitating, with a 
pipe made of a reed, the bleating of the fawn, and also the bucks, l>\ an 
imitation of the shrill, whistling sound which they emit during the rutting 
season. The wily savage often clothes himself in the hide of a D 
with the horns and ears attached— imitating the walk and other actions 
of the animal, by which means he is enabled to approach and almost 

mingle with the herd, and kill several with his arrows before they take 

the alarm. Since the introduction of lire-arms, however, many tribes of 
Indians have laid aside the bow and arrow, and adopted the gun. The 
traders who visit them, usually supply them with an inferior article, and 
we have never seen any considerable number o\' Indians expert in the use 
of the ritle. The late Dr. Lbitnbr informed us that the Florida Indians 
seldom shot at a Deer beyond twenty-live or thirty yards, exercising great 
patience and caution before they ventured on liriiiLf ; the result, however, 
under these favourable circumstances, was usually successful. We belii 
the Indians of -North America never used poisoned arrows in the destruc- 
tion of game, like the natives of Caffraria ;\n<\ other portions of Africa, or 
the aborigines of Brazil and the neighbouring regions of South America. 
The white man conducts his hunting excursions in various modes suited 
to his tastes and adapted to the nature of the country in which he resides. 
In mountainous, rocky regions, where horses cannot be used with advan- 
tage, he goes on foot, armed with a ritle, carries no dog, and seek- for 
the Deer in such situations as his sagacity and experience suggest. He 
either espies him in his bed, or silently steals upon him behind the covert 
of the stem of a large tree whilst he is feeding, and leisurely takes a 
steady and fatal aim. On the contrary, in situations adapted to riding, 
where the woods are thickly clothed with underbrush, where here and 
there wide openings exist between briar-patches, and clumps of myrtle- 
bushes, as in the Southern States, the Deer are almost universally chased 
with hounds, and instead of the ritle, double-barrelled deer-guns, of 
different sizes, carrying from twelve to twenty buck-shot, are alone made 
use of by the hunters. 


It may not be uninteresting to our readers if we point out the different 
modes in which Deer hunts are conducted. 

In the early settlement of our country, when men hunted for food, and be- 
fore they accustomed themselves to study their ease and comfort even in the 
chase, "still hunting," as it is termed, was universally practised. The 
wolves and other depredating animals, by which the colonists were sur- 
rounded, as well as the proximity of hostile Indians, almost precluded 
them for many years from raising a sufficient supply of sheep, hogs, and 
poultry. The cultivation of a small field furnished them with bread, 
while for meat they were chiefly dependent on the gun. Hence a portion 
of their time was from a kind of necessity devoted to the chase. The 
passion for hunting seems however to be innate with many persons, and 
we have observed that it often runs in families and is transmitted to their 
posterity, as is known to be the case with the descendants of the hunters in 
the Alps. There are even now many persons in our country, who devote 
weeks and months to the precarious employment of Deer hunting, when 
half the industry and fatigue in regular labour would afford their families 
every necessary and comfort. Hunting is a pleasant recreation, but a 
very unprofitable trade ; it often leads to idleness, intemperance, and 

For success in still-hunting it is essential that the individual who en- 
gages in it, should be acquainted with the almost impenetrable depths of the 
forest, as well as the habits of the Deer. He must be expert in the use of 
the rifle, possess a large stock of patience, and be constitutionally adapted 
to endure great fatigue. Before the dawn of day, he treads the paths 
along which the animal strays in returning from its nightly rambles to the 
covert usually its resting-place for the day. He ascends an elevation, to 
ascertain whether he may not observe the object of his search feeding in 
the vallies. If the patience and perseverance of the morning are not at- 
tended with success, he seeks for the Deer in its bed — if it should be start- 
led by his stealthy tread and spring up, it stops for a moment before bound- 
ing away, and thus affords him the chance of a shot ; even if the animal 
should keep on its course without a pause, he frequently takes a running, 
or what is called a chance shot, and is often successful. 

There is another mode of deer hunting we saw practised many years 
ago in the Western parts of the State of New-York, which we regard as 
still more fatiguing to the hunter, and as an unfair advantage taken of the 
unfortunate animals. The parties sally out on a deep snow, covered by a 
crust, which sometimes succeeds a rain during winter. They use light 
snow-shoes and seek the Deer in situations where in the manner of the 
moose of Nova Scotia, they have trampled paths through the snow in 


the vicinity of the shrubs on which they feed. When started from these re- 
treats they are forced to plunge into the deep snow ; and breaking through 
the crust leave at every leap traces of blood from their wounded legs; 
tiny are soon overtaken, sometimes by doge, at other times by the hunters, 
who advance faster on their snow-shoes than the exhausted Deer, which 
fall an easy prey either to the hunter's knife or his gun. In this manner 
thousands of Deer were formerly massacred in the Northern States. 

We have ascertained that our common Deermay he easily taken by the 
grey-hound. A pair of the hitter, introduced into Carolina by Col. Cattel, 
frequently caught them after a run of a few hundred yards. The Deer 
were trailed and started by beanies— the grey-hounds generally kept in 
advance of them, making high leaps in order to tret a glimpse of the Deer 
which were soon overtaken, seized by the throat, and thrown clown. The 
nature of the country, however, from it* swamps and thick covers often pre- 
vented the huntsmen from coming up to the captured animal before it « s 
torn and mutilated by the hounds, and many Deer could not be found, as 
(lie pack becomes silent as soon as the Deer is taken. We predict, however, 
that this will become the favourite mode of taking Deer on the open wes 
tern prairies, where there are no trees or other obstructions, and the whole 
scene maybe enacted within view of the hunters. 

Some hunters, who are engaged in supplying the salt and red Sulphur 
Springs of Virginia with venison during summer, practise a novel and an 
equally objectionable mode in capturing the Deer. A certain number of 
very large steel-traps made by a blacksmith in the vicinity, are set at night 
in the waters of different streams at the crossing-places of the Deer. 
The animal when thus captured instead of tearing off its lee: by violent 
Struggles i* said to remain standing; still, as passive as a wolf when simi- 
larly entrapped. Another and still more cruel mode is sometimes prac- 
ticed in the South: The Deer have particular places where they hap the 
fences to visit the pea-fields ; a sharpened stake is placed on the inside of 
the fence — the Deer in leaping over is perforated through the body by 
this treacherous spike, ami is found either dead or dying on the following 
morning. It is also a frequent practice in the South for the hunter during 
clear nights to watch a pea-field frequented by Deer. To make sure of 
this game he mounts some tree, seats himself on a crotch or limb which is 
above the current that would convey the scent to the keen olfactories of 
the Deer, and from this elevation leisurely waits for an opportunity to 
make a sure shot. 

In some parts of the Northern and Middle States the Deer are captured 
by the aid of boats. We observed this mode of hunting pursued at Sara- 
toga and other lakes, and ascertained that it was frequently attended with 
vol. ii. — 30. 


success. The hounds are carried to the hills to trail, and start the Det. 
before day light. Some of the hunters are stationed at their favourite cross- 
ing places to shoot them should they approach within gun shot. After 
being chased for an hour or two the Deer pushes for the lake. Here 
on some point of land a party lie in wait with a light and swift boat ; 
after the Deer has swam to a certain distance from the shore he is headed 
and approached by the rowers, a noose is thrown over the head, and the un- 
fortunate animal drawn to the side of the boat, when the captors proceed 
to cut its throat in violation of all the rules of legitimate sporting. 

Fire hunting is another destructive mode of obtaining Deer. In this case 
two persons are essential to success. A torch of resinous wood is carried 
by one of the party, the other keeps immediately in front with his gun. 
The astonished Deer instead of darting off seems dazzled by the light, and 
stands gazing at this newly kindled flame in the forest. The hunter sees 
his eyes shining like two tapers before him ; he fires and is usually suc- 
cessful ; sometimes there are several Deer in the gang, who start off for a 
few rods at the report of the gun, and again turn their eyes to the light. 
In this manner two or three are frequently killed within fifty yards of each 
other. This kind of hunting by firelight is often attended with danger 
to the cattle that may be feeding in the vicinity, and is prohibited by a 
law of Carolina, which is however frequently violated. The eyes of a 
cow are easily mistaken for those of a deer. We conversed with a gentle- 
man who informed us that he had never indulged in more than one fire-hunt, 
and was then taught a lesson which cured him of his passion for this kind 
of amusement. He believed that he saw the eyes of a Deer and fired, the 
animal bounded off, as he was convinced, mortally wounded. In the im- 
mediate vicinity he detected another pair of eyes and fired again. On re- 
turning the next morning to look for his game, he found that he had slaugh- 
tered two favourite colts. Another related an anecdote of a shot fired at 
what was supposed to be the shining eyes of a Deer, and ascertained to his 
horror lhat it was a dog standing between the legs of a negro, who had 
endeavoured to keep him quiet. The dog was killed and the negro slightly 

There is still another mode of Deer hunting which remains to be decrib- 
ed. It is called "driving," and is the one in general practice, and the 
favourite pastime among the hospitable planters of the Southern States. 
We have at long intervals, occasionally joined in these hunts, and must ad- 
mit that in the manner in which they were conducted, this method of Deer 
hunting proved an exciting and very agreeable recreation. Although 
we regret to state that it is pursued by some persons at all seasons of the 
year, even when the animals are lean and the venison of no value, yet the 


more thoughful and judicious huntsmen are satisfied to permit the Deer to 
rest and multiply for a season, and practice a little self-denial, daring sum- 
mer when the oppressive heats which usually prevail — the danger of being 
caught in heavy showers — and the annoyance of gauzeflies, mosqueti 
and ticks, present serious drawhacks to its enjoyment. The most favour- 
able season for this kind of amusement is from the beginning of October 
to January. The Deer are then in fine order ; the heats of summer are 
over ; the crops of rice gathered, and the value of the planter's crop can 
be calculated. The autumn of the Southern States possesses 8 peculiar 
charm : high winds seldom prevail, and the air is soft and mellow ; al- 
though many of the summer warblers have migrated farther to the south, 
yet they have been replaced by others : The bine-bird, cat-bird, and 
mocking-bird have not yet lost their song, and the swallows and night- 
hawks are skimming through the air in irregular and scattered groups 
on their way to the tropics. Vegetation has been checked, but not 
sufficiently destroyed to give a wintry aspect to the landscape. The 
Qentians Gerardias and other autumnal flowers are still disclosing a few 
lingering blossoms and emitting their fragrance. The forest, trees pre- 
sent a peculiar and most Striking appearance. A chemical process has 
been going on among the leaves, since the first cool nights have sus- 
pended the circulation, giving to those of the maple and sweet gum, 
a bright scarlet hue, which contrasted with the yellow of the hickory. 
and the glossy green of the magnolia grandiflora. besides every shade of 
colour that can he imagined, render an American forest, more striking 
and beautiful than that of any other country. It is the season of the year 
that invites to recreation and enjoyment. The planters have been separat- 
ed during the summer ; some have travelled from home — others have re- 
sided at their summer retreats :— they are now returning to their planta- 
tions, and the intercourse of the neighbourhood, that has been suspended 
for a season, is renewed. We recall with satisfaction some past scenes of 
pleasureahle associations of this kind. The space already taken up by this 
article will preclude us from entering into minute detail, and restrict US to 
a few incidents which will present the general features of a Carolina Deer 
hunt. We comply with the oft-repeated invitation to make our annual 
visit to our early and long-tried friend Dr. Dr.sF.i. at his hospitable residence 
some twenty miles from the city, which his friends have named Liberty 
Hall. The mind requires an occasional relaxation as well as the body. 
We have resolved to fly for a day or two, from the noise and turmoil of 
the city — to leave books and cares behind us — to break off the train of 
serious thought — to breathe the fresh country air. and mingle in the inno- 
cent sports of the field and the forest. Reader, you will go with us and 


enter into our feelings and enjoyments. As we approach the long avenue 
a mile from the residence of the companion of thirty-five years, we 
are espied by his domestics who welcome us with a shout, and inlbrm us 
that their " Boss" is looking out for us. Our friend soon perceives us, and 
hurries to the gate. How pleasant are the greetings of friendship — the smil- 
ing look of welcome, the open hand, and the warm heart of hospitality. 

The usual invitation is sent to a neighbour, to lunch, dine, and meet a 
friend. The evening is spent in social converse and closed with the 
family bible, and offerings of gratitude and praise to the Giver of all good. 
The sleep of him, who has escaped from the din of the city to the quiet 
of the country, is always refreshing. The dawn of day invites us to a 
substantial breakfast. The parties now load their double-barrelled guns, 
whilst the horses are being saddled. The horn is sounded, and the driver, 
full of glee, collects his impatient hounds. The party is unexpectedly 
augmented by several welcome guests. Our intelligent friend Harris, from 
New-Jersey, has come to Carolina, to be initiated into the mysteries of 
Deer hunting, as a preparation to farther exploits on the Western prairies, 
among the elk and the buffalo ; with him comes Audubon, the Nestor of 
American ornithology, and his son, together with Dr. Wilson. After the 
first greetings are over, we hasten to saddle additional horses for those of our 
guests, who are disposed to join us. The old ornithologist, having no relish 
for such boyish sports, sallies to the swamps in search of some rare species 
of woodpecker. We proceed to the drives, as they are called, viz., certain 
woods, separated by old fields and various openings, in some parts of 
which the Deer have their usual run, where the parties take their stands. 
These drives are designated by particular names, and we are familiar 
with Crane pond, Gum thicket, the Pasture, the Oak swamp, and a number 
of bays, one of which we would be willing to forget, for there we missed 
a Deer, and the bay was named after us, to our mortification. The driver 
is mounted on a hardy, active, and sure-footed horse, that he may be 
enabled to turn the course of the Deer, if he attempts to run back, or to 
stop the dogs. We were carried round to our stands by our host, when 
a Deer bounced up before us ; in an instant a loud report is heard waking 
the echoes of the forest — the animal leaps high into the air, and tumbles 
to the ground. Thus, our venison is secured, and we carry on our farther 
operations from the mere love of sport. Anxious to give our friend Harris 
an opportunity of killing his first Deer, we place him at the best stand. 
Our mutual wishes are soon gratified. He is stationed at the edge 
of a bay — a valley overgrown with bay-trees {Magnolia gladca) — which 
from that day received the cognomen of Harris' bay. The hounds after 
considerable trailing rouse two noble bucks, one of them bounds out 


near our friend. He is obliged to be ready in a moment, before the 
Deer comes in the line with another hunter. At the report of his gun we 
perceive that the buck is wounded. "Mind," cries out friend Wils 
"your shot have whistled past me." Friend H. grows pale at the thought 
of having endangered the life of another, but we comfort him by stating, 
that his shot had not reached within fifty yards of the nervous hunter, 
and moreover, that the old buck was wounded and would soon be his. 
We observed where he had laid down in the grass, and was started up 
again by the dogs. Now for a chase of a wounded buck. He I 
through an old field once planted with cotton, now full of ruts and ditches, 
and grown up with tall broom-grass. We agree to let the boys have the 
pleasure of the chase whilst we arc the silent spectators. They bound 
over ditches and old corn-fields, tiring as they run. Suddenly the hounds 
become silent, and then the loud sounding of the horn is heard ming- 
led with the whoops of the hunters, which inform us, that the game 
is secured ; it proves to be a majestic buck. The successful hunter is 
now obliged to submit to the ordeal of all who have fleshed their maid 
en sword, and killed their first Deer. " I submit," he said irood na- 
turedly, " but spare my spectacles and whiskers." So his forehead and 
cheeks were crossed with the red blood of the buck, and the tail was 
stuck in his cap. The hunt proceeded merrily and successfully. Young 
Audubon, however, had not yet obtained a shot. At length a Deer was start* 
< d near our host. He would not shoot it, but strove to drive it to his neigh- 
bour. He ran after it, and shouted, stumbled over a root, and in the fall 
threw off his spectacles; but as he was groping for them among t lie 
leaves, he ascertained that his generous efforts had been successful : 
the Deer had been turned to Mr. Audubon. One barrel snapped — then 
came a sharp report from the other — a loud whoop succeeded, and we 
soon ascertained that another Deer had fallen. We now conceived that 
we had our wishes for a successful hunt fully gratified ; the dmner 
hour had arrived. Five noble Deer were strung upon the old pecan- 
nut tree in sight of our festive hall. The evening passed off' in plea- 
sant conversation — some of those present displayed their wit and poet- 
ical talents by giving the details of the hunt in an amusing ballad, which 
however has not yet found its way into print. Thus ended a Carolina 
Deer hunt. 

We regret to be obliged to state, that the Deer are rapidly disappearing 
from causes that ought not to exist. There are at present not one- 
fifth of the number of Deer in Carolina that existed twenty years ago. 
In the Northern and Middle States, where the farms have been sub- 
divided, and the forests necessarily cleared, the Deer have disappeared 


because there was no cover to shelter them. In the Southern States, 
however, where there are immense swamps subject to constant inun- 
dations and pine barrens too poor for cultivation, they would remain 
undiminished in numbers were it not for the idle and cruel practice of 
destroying them by firelight, and hunting them in the spring and summer 
seasons by overseers and idlers. There is a law of the State forbidding 
the killing of Deer during certain months in the year. It is, however, 
never enforced, and Deer are exposed for sale in the markets of Charles- 
ton and Savannah at all seasons. In some neighbourhoods, where 
they were formerly abundant, now none exist, and the planters have 
given up their hounds. In New-Jersey and Long Island, where the game 
laws are strictly enforced, Deer are said to be on the increase. In 
some parts of Carolina, where the woods are enclosed with fences, not 
sufficiently high to prevent the Deer from straying out, but sufficient to 
prevent the hunters from persecuting them in summer, they have greatly 
multiplied and stocked the surrounding neighbourhoods. If judicious 
laws were framed and strictly enforced the Deer could be preserved for 
ages in all our Southern States, and we cannot refrain from submitting 
this subject to the consideration of our southern legislators. 


This animal is found in the State of Maine ; north of this it is replaced 
by larger species, the moose and reindeer. It exists sparingly in Upper 
Canada. In all the Atlantic States it is still found, although in diminish- 
ed numbers. Where care has been used to prevent its being hunted at 
unseasonable periods of the year, as in New-York and New-Jersey, it 
is said to be rather on the increase. In the mountainous portions of 
Virginia it is hunted with success. It is still rather common in North 
and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, especially in barren or swampy 
regions, of which vast tracts remain uncultivated. In Mississippi, Mis- 
souri, Arkansas, and Texas, it supplies many of the less industrious in- 
habitants with a considerable portion of their food. It'is very abundant 
in Texas and New Mexico, and is a common species in the northern parts 
of Mexico. We cannot say with confidence that it exists in Oregon, 
and in California it is replaced by the black tailed Deer. — C.Richardsonii. 


This species has been given under different names, and we might have 
added a long list of synonymes. The specimens we saw in Maine and 


at Niagara were nearly double the size of those on the hunting islands 
in South Carolina. The Deer that reside permanently in the swamps of 
Carolina are taller and longer legged than those in the higher grounds. 
The deer of the mountains arc larger than those on the sea-board, yet these 
differences, the result of food or climate, will not warrant us in multiply- 
ing them into different species. 


CANIS LUPUS.— Linn: Var. Rufus. 

Red Texan Wolf. 


C. Colore supra inter fulvum nigrum variante, subtus dilutior ; cauda 
apice nigro. 


Varied with red and black above, lighter beneath. End of tail black. 


In shape the Red Texan Wolf resembles the common gray variety. It 
is more slender and lighter than the white Wolf of the North West, and 
has a more cunning fox-like appearance. The hairs on the body are not 
woolly like those of the latter but lie smooth and flat. Its body and legs 
are long, nose pointed, and ears erect. 


The body above is reddish-brown mixed up with irregular patches of 
black ; the shorter hairs being light yellowish-brown at the roots, deep- 
ening into reddish at the tips ; many of the longer hairs interspersed are 
black from the roots through their whole extent. Nose, outer surface of 
ears, neck, and legs, chestnut-brown, a shade paler on the under surface. 
There is a brown stripe on the fore-legs extending from the shoulders to 
near the paws. Moustaches few and black ; inner surfaces of ears soil- 
ed-white ; nails black ; along the upper lip, under the chin, and on the 
throat, grayish-white. Upper surface and end of tail, as well as a broad 
band across the middle portion, black. 


Ft Inches. 

From point of nose to root of tail, ... - 2 11 
Tail, 1 1 








This variety is by no means the only one found in Texas, where 
Wolves, black, white and gray, are to be met with from time to time. 
We do not think, however, that this Red Wolf is an inhabitant of the 
more northerly prairies, or even of the lower Mississippi bottoms, and 
have, therefore, called him the Red Texan Wolf. 

The habits of this variety are nearly similar to those of the black and 
the white Wolf, which we have already described, differing somewhat, 
owing to local causes, but showing the same sneaking, cowardly, yet 
ferocious disposition. 

It is said that when visiting battle-fields in Mexico, the Wolves preferred 
the slain Texans or Americans, to the Mexicans, and only ate the bodies 
of the latter from necessity, as owing to the quantity of pepper used by 
tin Mexicans in their food, their flesh is impregnated with that powerful 
stimulant. Nol vouching fortius story, however, the fact is well known 
that these animals follow the movements of armies, or at least are alw 
at hand to prey upon the slain before their comrades can give them a sol- 
dier's burial, or even after that mournful rite; and if anything could in- 
crease the horrors displayed by the gory ensanguined field, where man has 
slain his fellows by thousands, it would be the presence of packs of these 
ravenous beasts disputing for the carcasses of the brave, the young, and 
the patriotic, who have fallen for their country's honour ! 

Xo corpse of wounded straggler from his troop, or of unfortunate travel- 
ler, butchered by Camanches. is ever " neglected" by the prowling Wolf, 
and he quarrels in his fierce hunger in his turn over the victim of similar 
violent passions exhibited by man ! 

The Wolf is met on the prairies from time to time as the traveller slowly 
winds his way. We will here give an extract from the journal kept by 
J. W. Audubon while in Texas, which shows the audacity of this animal, 
and gives us a little bit of an adventure with a hungry one, related by 
Powell, one of the gallant Texan Rangers. 

" Like all travellers, the ranger rides over the wide prairie in long 
silences of either deep thought or listless musings, I have never been able 
to decide which ; but when, riding by the side of Walker or H \vs, who 
would like to say that a vacant mind was ever in the broad brow or be- 
hind the sparkling eye either of him with the gray, or of him with the 
brown ? but at times when watching closely I have thought 1 could trace 
in the varying expression, castle after castle mounting higher and higher, 
till a creek ' to water at,' or a deer which had been sound asleep and to 
vol. n. — 31 


windward of us, started some 30 or 40 yards off our path to wake up the 
dreamers of our party. No one is certain that his queries will be wel- 
come to the backwoodsman on a march through a strange country, any 
more than would be those of a passenger, put to the captain of a vessel as he 
leans over the weather-rail looking what the wind will be, or thinking of 
the disagreeable bustle he will have, when he gets into port, compared 
to his lazy luxury on shipboard : but as I rode by the side of Powell we 
started no deer, nor came to a ' water hole,' but a Red Wolf jumped up 
some two or three hundred yards from us, and took to the lazy gallop so 

common to this species ; ' Run you ,' cried Powell, and he sent a 

yell after him that would have done credit to red or white man for its 
shrill and startling effect, the Wolf's tail dropped lower than usual, and 
now it would have taken a racer to have overtaken him in a mile ; a 
laugh from Powell, and another yell, which as the sound reached the Wolf 
made him jump again, and Powell turned to me with a chuckle, and 
said, ' I had the nicest trick played me by one of those rascals you ever 
heard of.' The simple, how was it, or let's have it, was all that he wanted, 
and he began at the beginning. ' I was out on a survey about 15 miles 
west of Austin, in a range that we didn't care about shooting in any more 
than we could help, for the Camanches were all over the country ; and 
having killed a deer in the morning, I took the ribs off one side and wrap- 
ping them in a piece of the skin, tied it to my saddle and carried it all day, 
so as to have a supper at night without hunting for it ; it was a dark, dismal 
day, and I was cold and hungry when I got to where I was to camp to wait 
for the rest of the party to come up next day ; I made my fire, untied my 
precious parcel, for it was now dark, with two sticks put up my ribs 
to roast, and walked off to rub down and secure my horse, while they 
were cooking ; but in the midst of my arrangements I heard a stick crack, 
and as that in an Indian country means something, I turned and saw, to 
my amazement, for I thought no animal would go near the fire, a large 
Red Wolf actually stealing ' my ribs' as they roasted ; instinct made me 
draw a pistol and ' let drive' at him ; the smoke came in my face and I saw 
nothing but that my whole supper was gone. So not in the most 
philosophical manner I lay down, supperless, on my blanket ; at daylight 
I was up to look out for breakfast, and to my surprise, my half-cooked ribs 
lay within twenty feet of the fire, and the Wolf about twenty yards off, 
dead ; my ball having been as well aimed as if in broad daylight." 

We have represented a fine specimen of this Wolf, on a sand-bar, snuff- 
ing at the bone of a buffalo, which, alas ! is the only fragment of "ani- 
mal matter" he has in prospect for breakfast. 



In all species of quadrupeds that are widely diffused over our conti- 
nent, il has often appeared to us that toward the north they are more 
subject to become whit) — toward the east or Atlantic side pray — to the. 
south black — and toward the west red. The pray squirrel, (\ migratorius), 
of the Northern and Eastern States presents man; varieties of red as we 
proceed westwardly towards Ohio. In the south, the fox squirrel in 
the maritime districts is black as well as gray, but not red. On proceed- 
ing westwardly, however, through Georgia and Alabama,a great many are 
found of a rufous colour. In Louisiana, there are in the southern parts two 
species permanently black as well as the foxsquirrel, which in about half 
the specimens are found black, and the remainder reddish. The same may 
be said in regard to the Wolves. In the north there is a tendency towards 
white — hence srreat numbers are of that colour. Along tin 1 Atlantic 
const, in the Middle and Northern States, the majority are gray. To the 
south, in Florida, the prevailing colour is black, and in Texas and the south- 
west the colour is generally reddish. It is difficult to account, on any 
principles of science, for this remarkable peculiarity, which forms a sub- 
ject of curious speculation. 

This variety of Wolf is traced from the northern parts of the State of 
Arkansas, southerly through Texas into Mexico ; we are not informed of 
its southern limits. 


The Wolves present so many shades of colour that we have not ventur- 
ed to regard this as a distinct species : more especially as it breeds with 
those of other colours, gangs of Wolves being seen, in which this variety 
is mixed up with both the gray and black. 




_ . . 3-2 . 0-0 5-5 

Incisive — Canine — ; Molar - — = 26. 

1—1 0—0 5—5 

Teeth and toes similar to those of the genus Lepus, upper incisors in 
pairs, two in front and two immediately behind them, the former large and 
the latter small. 

Ears moderate ; eyes, round ; hind legs not much longer than fore legs ; 
fur under the feet ; no tail ; mammae four or six ; clavicles nearly perfect. 

Native of cold and Alpine regions. They lay up stores for winter pro- 
vision which is never done by the true hares. They have a call-note resem- 
bling that of some species of Tamice. 

The name of this sub-genus, Lagomys, is derived from the Greek words 
xxym, (logos), a Hare, and /***, (?nus), a Mouse. 

Four species of this genus are described ; one, the Pika, exists in the 
northern mountains of the Old World, one in Mongolian Tartary, one in 
the south eastern parts of Russia, and one in the Rocky Mountains of North 

LAGOMYS PRINCE PS. —Richardson. 

Little-Chief Hare. 

L. Ecaudatus, fuscus, latere pallidior, subtus griseus, capite brevi ; auri- 
culis rotundatis. 


Tailless ; colour blackish brown, beneath gray ; head short and thick ; ear* 




syvos YMF.S. 

Lepus (LAROMva Princeps). Rich. Fauna B. Am. p. 227. 
" •' " Fischer's Mamalium. p. 503. 


"On comparing the skull of this animal with that of a true Hare, 
there appears a larger cavity in proportion to its size, for the reception of 
the brain. The breadth of the skull, too, behind, is increased by very large 
and spongy processes. The bone anterior to the orbit is not cribriform 
as in the Hares, although it is thin, and there is no depression of the frontal 
bone between the orbits. 

The upper anterior incisors are marked with a deep furrow near their 
anterior margins, and have cutting «dges which present conjointly three 
well marked points, the middle one of which is common to both teeth, mid 
is shorter than the exterior one. These incisiors are much thinner than 
the incisors of the Hare, and are scooped out like a gousre behind. The 
small round posterior or accessary upper incisors, have Hat summits. The 
lower incisors are thinner than those of the Hares, and are chamfered away 
toward their summits, more in the form of a gouge than like the chisel-shap- 
ed-edge of the incisors of a Han 1 . 

Grinders. — The upper grinders are not very dissimilar to those of the 
Hare, on the crowns, but the transverse plates of enamel are more distinct. 
They differ in each tooth having a very deep furrow on its inner side, 
which separates the folds of enamel. This furrow is nearly obsolete in the 
Hares, whilst in thelagomys it is as conspicuous as the separation betwixt 
the teeth. The small posterior grinder which exists in the upper jaw of 
the adult Hare is entirely wanting in the different specimens of the Little- 
Chief Hare which I have examined. The lower grinders, from the depthsof 
their lateral grooves, have at first sight a greater resemblance to the grind- 
ers of some animal belonging to the genus Arvirnhi than those of a Hare ; 
their crowns exhibit a single series of acute-triangles with hollow areas. 
The first grinder has three not very deep grooves on a side, and is not so 
unlike the corresponding tooth of a Hare as those which succeed it. The 
second, third, and fourth, have each a groove in both sides so deep as nearly 
to divide the tooth, and each of the crowns exhibits two triangular folds of 
enamel. The posterior grinder forms only one triangle." — (Richardson). 

In size this species is a little smaller than the alpine mka of Siberia. The 
body is thick ; the head broad and short, and the forehead arched. The 
ears are ovate, and do not appear to have any incurvations on their inner 
margins. The eyes are small, resembling those of the arvicolis ; there is a 
marked prominent tubercle at the root of each claw. 



The Little-Chief Hare is, on the upper surface dark brown, varied with 
irregular bands of brownish-black running from the sides across the back. 
There are slight variations in different specimens, some having these 
blackish markings more distinct than others. The fur is, for three-fourths 
of its length, of a grayish-black colour, then partly yellowish-brown and 
white ; on the sides of the head and fore shoulders this yellowish-brown 
colour prevails more than in other parts. The ears are bordered with 
white ; the whole under surface is yellowish-gray, and the small pro- 
tuberance, which represents the tail, light coloured. 



Length of head and body 6J 

" from nose to eye ----- £ 

Breadth of ear - - £ 

Fur on the back ------ |. 

Length of head ------ 2^ 

Height of ear ------- l 

Length of heel ------- l| 


Little is known with regard to the habits of this animal. 
The following extract is made from the Fauna Boreali Americana : 

" Mr. Drummond informs me, that the Little-Chief Hare frequents 
heaps of loose stones, through the interstices of which it makes its way 
with great facility. It is often seen at sunset, mounted on a stone, and 
calling to its mate by a peculiar shrill whistle. On the approach of man, 
it utters a feeble cry, like the squeak of a rabbit when hurt, and instantly 
disappears, to reappear in a minute or two, at the distance of twenty or 
thirty yards, if the object of its apprehension remains stationary. On the 
least movement of the intruder, it instantly conceals itself again, repeating 
its cry of fear ; which, when there are several of the animals in the neigh- 
bourhood, is passed from one to the other. Mr. Drummond describes their 
cry as very deceptive, and as appearing to come from an animal at a 
great distance, whilst in fact the little creature is close at hand ; and if 
seated on a grey limestone rock, is so similar, that it can scarcely be 
discovered. These animals feed on vegetables. Mr. Drummond never 


found their burrows, and he thinks they do not make any. hut that they 
construct their nests among the stones. He does not know whether they 
store up hay for winter or not, but is certain, that they "do not come 
abroad dining thai season." 

To the above account, it. affords us pleasure to annex the extract of a 
letter, which we received from Mr. Nuttali. on the same subject. 

Of this curious species of Lepus, (/,. prtnceps of Richardson), we were 
not fortunate enough to obtain any Rood specimens. 1 found its range to 
be in that latitude (42°) almost entirely alpine. I first discovered it by- 
its peculiar cry, far up the mountain of the dividing ridge between the 
waters of the Colombia and Colorado, and the Missouri, hiding amongst 
loose piles of rocks, such as you generally see beneath broken cliffs. 
From this retreat 1 heard a slender, but very distinct bleat, so like that 
of a young kid or goat, that I at lirst concluded it to be such a call ; but 
in vain trying to discover any larsre animal around me. at length 1 111.1v 
almost literally say, the mountain brought forth nothing much larger than 
a mouse, as 1 discovered that this little animal was the real author of this 
unexpected note." 


Dr. Richardson states, that tins animal inhabits the Rocky Mountains 
from latitude 52° to 60° The specimen of Mr. Town-send was procured 
in latitude 42°, and therefore within the limits of tin- United States. 


Until recently it was not supposed, that we had in America any species 
of this genus. We have compared it with the Pika. (Lagmnys alpinus), 
of the Eastern continent, described by Pallas. Our animal is not only 
of smaller size, but differs from it in the formation of the skull and several 
other particulars. 



Franklin's Marmot Squirrel. 
PLATE LXXXIV.— Male and Female. 

S. corpore super cervino ferrugineave creberrime nigro maculato subter 
albido, vultu ex nigro canescenti, Cauda elongata cylindrica pilis albis 
nigro ter quatorve torquatis vestita. 


Cheek pouches, the upper surface of the body spotted thickly with 
black, on a yellowish-brown ground, under surface grayish-white ; face 
black and white, intimately and equally mixed ; tail long, cylindrical, and 
clothed with hairs which are ringed alternately with black and white. 


Arctomys Franklinii. Sabine. Linneau Transactions, Vol. 13, p. 19. 

" " Franklin's Journey, p. 602. 

" " Harlan's Fauna, p. 167. 

« «' Godman, Nat. Hist. Vol. 2d p. 109. 

« - Richardson, F. B. Am. p. 168. pi. 12. 


Franklin's Marmot is about the size of the Carolina Gray Squirrel, and 
resembles it in form, its ears however are shorter, and its tail, which is 
narrower, presents a less distichous appearance. The ears have an erect 
rounded flap, and although not as large as those of S. Douglassii, are pro- 
minent, rising above the fur considerably more than those of S. Richard- 
sonii or & Annulatus. The body is rather slender r this genus ; eyes 
large and rather prominent ; cheek pouches small ; moustaches few 
and short. 

The legs are shorter than those of the squirrels, and stouter than those 
of S. Annulatus. The thumb has one joint, with a small nail ; the 
second toe from the inside is the longest ; the palms are naked. The 
soles of the hind feet are hairy for about two-thirds of their length from 



BPfiftfitiPHlLUS FR.WKLINll. 049 

trie heels. The claws are nearly Straight being much less hooked than 
those of ft \iiniihi/ii.f. 

The hair is rather coarse, and the Under fur not very dense. 

The tail is clothed with hair, hut has on it no under fur. It is capahle 
of a somewhat distichous arrangement, bul as we are informed by Sir 
John Richardson, when this animal is pursued, the tail is cylindrical, the 
hairs Standing OUt in every direction. The hind feet, when stretched out. 
reach to the middle of the tail. 

Incisors orange : eyes and whiskers. Mack : nails, dark-hrown : the 
septum and naked margins of the nostrils, and margins of the lips arc 
of a light flesh-colour; eyelids, white ; below the nostrils, sides <>t' lace, 
chin, and throat, yellowish-white. Upper parts of the head to beyond 
the ears and neck, light brindled- gray, composed of blackish hairs tipped 
with while, without any admixture of hrown. The hairs on the back, 
are at the roots, plumbeous, then hrown. succeeded by a line of blank, and 
finally tipped with hrown. giving it on the hack a brownish-speckled 
appearance, (hi the chest and inner Surfaces of legs white, with a 
slight brownish tinge. The hairs on the tail are barred with black ant* 
white : they are light-coloured at the roots, then twice barred with 
black and white, and broadly tipped with white. Towards the extre- 
mity ol' the tail there is a broader black bar. the apical portion being 
white. When the tail is distichously arranged it presents two indis- 
tinct longitudinal stripes of black. 



From point of nose to insertion of tail, 9| 

Tail (vertebra?), 4f 

To end of hair, 5f 

From heel to end of middle claw, ... 2 

Height of ear, - J 


We possess but little information of the habits of several of the Spermo- 
phili of America. None of the species are found in tin- settled portions of 
our country, where opportunities are afforded the naturalist to observe 
and note down their habits; every one has undoubtedly an interesting 
history attached to its life, which yet remains to be collected and written. 
vol. 11. — 82. 


Richardson observes of this species, that it lives in burrows in the sandy 
soil amongst the little thickets of brushwood that skirt the plains. That 
it is about three weeks later in its appearance in the spring than the 
Arctomys Richardsonii, probably from the snow lying longer on the shady 
places it inhabits, than on the open plains frequented by the latter. It 
runs on the ground with considerable rapidity, but has not been seen to 
ascend trees. It has a louder and harsher voice than the A. Richardsonii, 
more resembling that of Sciurus Hudsonius when terrified. Its food con- 
sists principally of the seeds of liguminous plants, which it can procure in 
considerable quantity as soon as the snow melts and exposes the crop of 
the preceding year. Mr. Townsend, who observed it in Oregon, does not 
refer particularly to any habit differing from the above. 


This is a northern and western species ; Dr. Richardson having ob- 
tained it in the neighbourhood of Carlton House, and Townsend near the 
Columbia River. 


Although several different Spermophiles bear a strong resemblance to 
each other, we have not observed that this species has as yet been mis- 
taken for any other, and it has as far as we can ascertain retained its 
name without change in the works of all new describers. 




incisive -; Canine - Volar—- = 16. 

a 0—0 3—3 

Cheek-teeth tuberculous, the first, with three, the second with two, 
and the third with one, tubercle. 

Xose sharp, ears moderate; fore-feet short, with the rudiment of a 
thumb; hind Inrs lone:, terminated by live tors with nails, eaeh with a 
distinct metatarsus. Tail, very long and slender ; mammae, from two to 
four pectoral, and from two to four abdominal. 

Habits nocturnal, man] hibernate. 

There have been eleven series described as belonging to tin- genus, 
as it is now restricted : one well determined species has been discovered 
in North America, the rest are found in sandy and elevated regions, in 
palls of \^ia and \liiea. 

The word Meriones is derived from the Gr. n»>pi«», (jnerion), the thigh. 

MENU WES 1 1 V I )S( >XUTS.— Zimmerman. 

Jumping Mousb. 
PLATE LXXXV— Male and Female. 

M. Supra saturate fuscus, infra albus, lima laterali (lava inter colorem 
fuscom albumque intermedia ; cauda corpore longiore. 


Dark reddish-brown above, with white underneath ; suits yellow, separating 

the colours of the hack from the white beneath : tail much longer than the body. 

m \ii\viii:s. 
Dipcs Hudsoxicus. Zimmerman. Geogr. Geschich., II. p. 

" Americanus. Barton, Am. Phil. Trans., 4. vol. p. 358—202. A. D. 1782. 
" Canadensis. Davies' Linn. Trans., 4. 155. 


Gerbille dit Canada. Desm. Mammal., p. 132. 

" " Fr. Cuvier in Diet, des Sc. Nat., 18. p. 464. 

Meriones Labradorius. Sabine, Franklin's Journ., p. 155 and 157. 
G. Canadensis et Labradorius. Harlan, Fauna, p. 155 and 157. 
" Godman, vol. 2. p. 94 and 97. 

Meriones Labradorius. Richardson, Fau. Bore. Am., p. 144. 

" Americanus. De Kay. Nat. Hist. N. Y., p. 71. pi. XXIV., fig. 2d. 


Head, narrow and conical. Nose, tolerably sharp, with an obtuse tip 
projecting a little beyond the incisors. Nostrils small, facing sideways 
and protected anteriorly by a slight ventricose arching of their naked 
inner margins. The mouth is small and far back. Whiskers, long, 
extending to the shoulder ; eyes, small ; ears, semi-oval, rounded at 
the tips, clothed on both surfaces with short hair. Fore feet small, nail in 
place of a thumb ; hind legs long and slender ; there are five hind-toes, 
each with a long slender tarsal bone ; the toes, when expanded, resembling 
those of some species of birds. The soles are naked to the heels ; upper 
surface of hind-feet covered with short adpressed hairs ; tail, long, scaly, 
has a velvety appearance, soft to the touch, is thinly covered with such 
soft short hairs, that without a close examination it would appear naked. 
The hair on the body is of moderate fineness, and lies smooth and 


Upper surface of nose, forehead, neck, ears, and a broad line on the 
back, dark-brown ; the hairs being plumbeous at their roots, tipped with 
yellowish-brown and black ; under the nose, along the sides of the face 
outer surface of the legs, and along the sides, yellowish ; lips, chin, and 
all the under surface white ; as is also the under surface of the tail in some 
specimens, though in others brownish-white. The colours between the 
back and sides, as well as between the sides and belly, are in most speci- 
mens separated by a distinct line of demarcation. This species is subject 
to considerable variations in colour. We have seen some young ani- 
mals, in which the dark reddish-brown stripe along the back was wholly 
wanting ; others where the line of demarcation between the colours was 
very indistinct ; nearly all are. pure white on the under surface ; but we 
possess two specimens that are tinged on those parts with a yellowish 




Length of head and body 2$ 

do of tail ...... 4j 

Height of ear posteriorly - 

From heel to longest nail ----- i£ 

This species was familar to us in early life, and we possessed many op- 
portunities of studying its peculiar and very interesting habits. We doubt 
whether there is any quadruped in the world of its size, that can make its 
way over the ground as rapidly, or one that can in an open space so quickly 
evade the grasp ofits pursuers. The ploughman in the Northern and Mid- 
dle States, sometimes turns op this species from under a clod of earth, 
when it immediately commences its long leaps. He drops his reins and 
hurries after it ; whilst the little creature darts off with great agility, pursu- 
ing an irregular zig-zag direction, and it requires an active runner to ki 
pace with it. as it alternately rises and sinks like the flying-fish at sea. and 
ere the pursuer is aware, is out ol'sight. hidden probably behind some clod, 
or concealed under a tuft of grass. We have frequently seen these mice 
start from small stacks of wheat, where the bundles had been tempo- 
rarily collected previous to their being removed to the barn. In such 
eases they usually effect their escape anions: the tirass and stubble. 
A rapid movement seems natural to this animal, and is often exhi- 
bited when it is not under the influence of fear, and apparently for 
mere amusement. Our kind friend Maj. Lb Coots, now of New-York, 
informs us. that he has seen it in former times, near the northern end 
of the Island of New-York, springing from the ground and passing 
with the velocity of a bird, until its momentum being exhausted it dis- 
appeared in the tall grass, apparently with ease and grace, again spring- 
ing forth in the same manner. It must not. however, from hence be 
believed that the Jumping Mouse walks on its hind feet only, and progn 
at all times by leaps, without using its fore-feet. We have frequently seen 
it walking leisurely on all its feet, in the manner of the white-footed 
mouse. It is chiefly when alarmed, or on special occasions, that it makes 
thes,. unusual leaps : the construction of the body proves that this species 
could not for any length of time be sustained on its tarsi. In its leaps 
we have always observed that it falls on all its four feet. 

We experienced no difficulty in capturing this species in box-traps, and 


preserved a female in a cage from spring to autumn ; she produced two 
young a few days after being caught ; she reared both of them, and 
they had become nearly of full size before autumn, when by some accident 
our pets escaped. We placed a foot of earth at the bottom of the cage, 
in this they formed a burrow with two outlets. They used their feet and 
nails to advantage, as we observed them bury themselves in the earth, 
in a very short time. They were usually very silent, but when we 
placed a common mouse in the cage, squeaked with a loud chattering 
noise, like some young bird in pain. They skipped about the cage, were 
anxious to make their escape from the mouse, and convinced us that this 
species is very timid. They were in their habits strictly nocturnal, scarcely 
ever coming out of their holes during the day, but rattling about the 
wires of the cage throughout the night. 

We observed that every thing that was put into their cage, however 
great might be the quantity, was stored away in their holes before the 
next morning. We fed them on wheat, maize, and buckwheat. They 
gave the preference to the latter, and we observed that when they had 
filled their store-house with a quart of buckwheat, they immediately form- 
ed a new burrow in which they deposited the surplus. 

We are inclined to believe that this species produces several times dur- 
ing the summer, as we have seen the young on several occasions in May 
and August ; They are from two to four ; we have usually found three. 

The fact of the females being frequently seen with the young attached to 
their teats, carrying them along in their flight when disturbed, is well 
ascertained. We have also observed this in several other species ; in the 
white-footed mouse, the Florida rat, and even the common flying squirrel. 
We are not, however, to argue from this that the young immediately after 
birth become attached to the teats in the manner of the young opossoms, 
and are incapable of relaxing their hold ; on the contrary the female we 
had in confinement, only dragged her young along with her, when she was 
suddenly disturbed, and when in the act of giving suck ; but when she 
came out, of her own accord, we observed that she had relieved herself from 
this incumbrance. This was also the case with the other species refer- 
red to. 

Dr. Dekay, regards it as a matter of course that in its long leaps, it is 
aided by the tail. We doubt whether the tail is used in the manner of the 
kangaru ; the under surface of it is never worn in the slightest manner, 
and exhibits no evidence of its having been used as a propeller. Its long 
heel and peculiarly long slender tarsal bones on each toe, seem in them- 
selves sufficient to produce those very long leaps. We have often watch- 
ed this species, and although it moves with such celerity as to render an 


examination very difficult, we have been able to decide, as we think, that 
the tail is not used by the animal in its surprising leaps and rapid move- 

The domicil of the Jumping Mouse in summer, in which her young are 
produced, we have always found near the surface, seldom more than six 
inches underground, sometimes under fences and brushwood, but more 
generally under clods of earth, when- the sward had been turned over in 
early spring, leaving hollow spaces beneath, convenient for the summer 
residence of the animal. The nesl is composed of fine grass, mixed with 
which we have sometimes seen feathers, wool, and hair. 

We arc. however, under an impression that the Jumping Mouse in winter 
resorts to a burrow situated much deeper in the earth, and beyond the in- 
fluence of severe frosts, as when fields were ploughed late in autumn, we 
could never obtain any of this species. It may be stated as a gener- 
al observation, that this animal is a resident of fields and cultivated 
grounds ; we have, however, witnessed two or three exceptions to this 
habit, having caught some in traps set at night in the woods, and once 
having found a nest under the roots of a tree in the forest, occupied by 
an old female of this species with three young two-thirds grown ; this 
nest contained about a handful of chestnuts, which had fallen from the. 
surrounding trees. 

It is generally believed, that the Jumping Mouse, like the Hampster of 
Europe, (Cricetus vulgaris), and the Marmots, (Arctomys), hibernates, and 
passes the winter in a profound lethargy. Although we made some 
efforts many years ago, to place this matter beyond a doubt by personal 
observation, we regret that our residence, being in a region where this 
species does not exist, no favourable opportunity has since been afforded us. 
Naturalists residing in the Northern and Middle States could easily 
solve the whole matter, by preserving the animal in confinement through 
the winter. 

To us the Jumping Mouse has not been an abundant species in any 
part of our country. Being, however, a nocturnal animal, rarely seen 
during the day unless disturbed, it is in reality more numerous than is 
generally supposed. We have frequently caught it in traps at night in 
localities where its existence was scarcely known. 

This species, feeding on small seeds, does very little injury to the farmer : 
it serves, like the sparrow, to lessen the superabundance of grass seeds, 
which are injurious to the growth of wheat and other grains ; it is fond 
of the seeds of several species of Amaranthus, the pigweed, (Ambrosia), 
burr-marygold, beggar or sheep ticks, (Biilrns), all of which are regarded 
as pests, he therefore should not grumble at the loss of a few grains of 


wheat or buckwheat. Its enemies are cats, owls, weasels, and foxes, 
which all devour it. 


If there is no mistake in regarding all the varieties of Jumping Mice in 
the northern parts of America as one species, this little animal has a range 
nearly as extensive as that of the white-footed Mouse. It exists, according 
to Richardson, as far to the North as great Slave Lake, Lat. 62°. It is 
found in Labrador and Nova Scotia, and in Upper and Lower Canada. 
We have seen it in the Eastern and Middle States, and obtained a specimen 
on the mountains of Virginia, but have not traced it farther to the South ; 
although we are pretty sure that it may, like the Sciurus Hudsonius be 
found on the whole range of the Alleghanies. Say observed it on the base 
of the Rocky Mountains, and Mr. Townsend brought specimens from Oregon, 
near the mouth of the Columbia River. We can scarcely doubt, that it 
will yet be discovered on both sides of the mountains in California and 

general remarks. 

On looking at our synonymes our readers will discover that this species 
has been described under an endless variety of names. We have omitted 
a reference to Rafinesque, who indicated several new species in the Ame- 
rican Monthly Magazine. We have concluded, that a writer exhibiting 
such a want of accuracy, who gives no characters by which the species 
can be known, and who has involved the science in great confusion, and 
given such infinite trouble to his successors, does not deserve to be quoted. 

We had attached to our plate the specific name given by Dr. Bar- 
ton, (M. Americanus), this we would have preferred to either of the others, 
especially as it now seems probable, that this is the only species in North 
America. The names Hudsonius, Labradorius, and Canadensis, are all 
exceptionable, as it appears to be as abundant in the Northern and 
Eastern States, as it is in Hudson's Bay, Labrador, or Canada. There is 
an evident impropriety, although we confess when hard pressed for a 
name we have often committed the error ourselves, in naming species 
after localities where they have been found. The Meles Labradoria of 
Sabine, and the Lepus Virginianus of Harlan, are both familiar examples. 
Having recently had an opportunity of consulting the original description 
of Zimmerman, published between the years 1778 and 1783, we are con- 
vinced that he was the first scientific describer, and we have accordingly 
adopted his name. Barton, at a little later period, published a good 



description with a figure. Davies shortly afterwards published it under 
the name of Dipus Canadensis. Sabine published a specimen with a 
mutilated tail, which he named M. Labradorius, and Richardson a 
specimen from the North, which he referred to the northern species, 
under the name of M. Labradorius, supposing there was still another 
species, which had been described as G. Canadensis. We have compared 
many specimens from all thr localities indicated by authors. There is 
a considerable variety in colour, young animals being paler and having 
the lines of demarcation between the colours less distinct. There is also 
a great difference between the colour of the coat of hair in the spring, 
before it is shed, and that of the young hair which replaces the winter 
pelage. The tail varies a little, but is always long in all the specimens. 
The ears, size, and habits of all are similar. We have thus far seen 
no specimen that would warrant us in admitting more than one species 
into our American Fauna. 

vol. ii. — S3 



, . . 6. 1-1 Ar 4— S 

Incisive -' Canine — ; Molar — = 30. 

6 1—1 3—3 

There are two conical teeth, or false molars, in the upper jaw, which 
are wanting in the genus Lynx ; a large carnivorous tooth with three 
lobes ; the fourth cheek-tooth in the upper jaw nearly flat, and placed 
transversely ; the two anterior cheek-teeth in the lower jaw false. 

Head, round ; ears, short and generally triangular, not tufted ; in many 
species a white spot on their outer surfaces ; no mane ; tail, long ; tongue 
roughened with prickles ; anterior extremities with five toes, posterior, 
with four ; nails curved, acute, and retractile. 

Habit savage, feeding in a state of nature on living animals only, which 
they seize by surprise, and not by the chase, as is the habit of the dog 
wolf, &c-; leaping and climbing with facility ; speed moderate ; sense of 
sight good ; that of smell imperfect. 

There are 33 species of Long-tailed Cats described, inhabiting the four 
quarters of the world. Four species only are positively known to exist 
north of the tropics in America. 

The generic name is derived from the latin word Felis — a cat. 


Ocelot, or Leopard-Cat. 

PLATELXXXVI —Male.— Winter Pelage. 

F. Magnitudine. Lynx rufus. Cana. (s. potius flava), maculis ocellaribus 
magnis fulvis nigro-limbatis, in lateribus facias oblequas formantibus ; 
fronte striis 2 lateribus nigricantibus cauda corporis longitudine dimedia. 


Size of the Bay Lynx ; general colour gray, marked with large fawn- 
coloured spots, bordered with black, forming oblique bands on the flanks ; two 
black lines bordering the forehead laterally. 




OCELOT. 259 


Felis Pardalis. Linn., p. 62. 

" " Harlan's Fauna, p. 96. 

" " Cut. An. King., vol. 2, p. 476. 

" " Griffith's An. King., vol. 5, p. 167. 

•* " Shaw's Zoology, vol. 2d, p. 356. 


Head, short ; neck, long and thin ; body, long and slender; tail, rather 
thick, and of moderate size ; hair, rather solt, and not very dense. 


The outer surface of the ear is black, with a white patch beneath ; chin 
and throat white, with a black bar immediately beneath the chin, and 
another under the neck. On the chest and under surface, white, with ir- 
regular black patches. There are small black spots disposed on the 
head, surrounded by reddish-brown, a black line runs longitudinally on the 
sides of the head to the neck. The whole back is marked with oval 
figures, and in some specimens with longitudinal black stripes edged with 
fnvn-colour. Upper surface of the tail irregularly barred with black and 
white, the extremity black. 

Specimens vary much in their markings, and we have not found two 
precisely alike. 


Male, procured by CoL Hajinef in Texas, seven miles from San An- 
tonio, December, 1845. 

From point of nose to root of tail, .... 


Height from nails to shoulder, • 

" of ear posteriorly, ..... 


Length of head and body - 

" tail 
From nose to shoulder. 



















Before describing the habits of this beautiful species, we must enter into 
the difficult task of separating it from several other spotted, leopard-like 

260 OCELOT. 

cats, that have been confounded with it. Of these, the most similar in ap- 
pearance is perhaps the Felis initis, which is found in the tropical portions 
of North America, and in the warmer parts of South America. 

The Felis mitis has in fact been figured, and described by Shaw, Vol. 2, 
p. 356, (unless we deceive ourselves), as the Ocelot, (our present species) 
while his figure of the Jaguar, (opposite p. 354), is probably drawn from 
the Ocelot, although, so poor a figure as to be hardly recognisable. 
The descriptions and figures of the Ocelot, that we find in old works on 
natural history, are so confusing, and unsatisfactory, that we are obliged 
to throw aside all reference to them in establishing any one of the feline 
tribe as our animal, and leave the reader to decide whether Buffon, speak- 
ing of the Ocelot, as two feet and a-half high and about four feet in length, 
meant the subject of our article, which is only two feet-six inches long 
from nose to root of tail, the Felis mitis, or the Jaguar ; and whether Pen- 
nant referred to the same animal, which he describes, when speaking of the 
Ocelot, " as about four times the size of a large cat," (about the size of our 
specimen of the Ocelot). 

The description of this species in Linnaeus is so short, that it is almost 
equally applicable to either the Jaguar, the Ocelot, or Felis mitis : "Felis 
cauda elongata, corpore maculis superioribus virgatis, inferioribus orbicula- 
izs." Sys. Nat. Gmel. p. 78. Brisson is also very concise in giving the 
character of the Ocelot ; F. tufa, in ventre exalbo Jlavicans, maculis nigris 
in dor so longis, in ventre orbiculatis variegata." Quadr. 169. We are on 
the whole inclined to consider the species described by Pennant as the 
Mexican Cat, the Ocelot or Leopard-Cat of the present article, and the lar- 
ger animal described by other authors, as the Felis mitis, as young of the 
Jaguar, or perhaps females of this last named species, and we have not yet 
met with the Felis mitis within our range, although we have seen such an 
animal alive in New-York, one having been brought by sea from Yucatan. 

Our animal is quite well known in Texas as the Leopard-Cat, and in 
Mexico is called the Tiger-Cat, it is in the habit of concealing itself in hol- 
lows in trees, and also by squatting upon the larger branches. It is rather 
nocturnal, and preys upon the smaller quadrupeds, and on birds, eggs, &c, 
when they can be seized on the ground. 

The activity and grace of the Leopard-Cat, are equal to the beauty of its 
fur, and it leaps with ease amid the branches of trees, or runs with swift- 
ness on the ground. These Cats seldom stray far from woods, or thickets 
bordering on rivers, streams, or ponds, very rarely lying on the hill-sides, or 
out on the plains. 

They run like foxes, or wild-cats, when chased by the hunters with 
hounds or other dogs, doubling frequently, and using all the stratagems of 

OCELOT. 261 

the gray fox, before they take a straight course, but when hard pressed 
and fatigued, they always ascend a tree, instead of running to earth. 

Like all the cat tribe, the Ocelot is spiteful when confined in a cage, and 
snarls and spits at the spectator when he draws near: hut we have never 
seen it strike through the bars like the leopard, which sometimes inflicts 
severe wounds on the incautious or fool-hardy person, who. to see it better, 
approaches too closely its prison. 

According to our information, the Ocelot only has two young at a litter, 
but we have not had an opportunity of ascertaining this point our- 

The specimen from which our figure was drawn, was procured by Gen. 
Harney, who sent it fresh killed to .1. W. Anun >\. then at San An- 
tonio on an expedition in search of the quadrupeds of Texas, for our work. 
We here give an extract from his journal. 

" But for the kindness of Col. Harney. I might never have made the draw- 
ing of this most beautiful of all tin- North American feline race. Col. Harney 
sent for my trunks, and while 1 waited the return of the sergeant's guard, 
who went to fetch them, I saw him daily. lie introduced ine to Mrs. 
Braiiev, where he and Capt. Myers, afterwards my friend, boarded, and 
the lady of the house made it a home to me. 

1 was invited out to the camp, and as I talked of the animals I was most 
anxious to procure, all seemed desirous to aid me. Col. Harney, fond of 
field sports, as active and industrious as he was tall and magnificent-look* 
ing, waked at day light the lone prairies and swamps with shouts of en- 
couragement to his small pack of well-chosen dogs, till they in turn burst 
forth in full cry on the hot trail of a magnificent specimen of this most in- 
teresting species. 1 had just returned from an examination of all my steel- 
traps ; some were sprung, yet nothing but fur was left, showing that a strong 
wolf or lynx had been caught, hut had pulled away: thus preventing 
perhaps, the capture of some smaller animal that I wanted ; and rats, mice, 
skunks, or other little quadrupeds, were eaten nightly whilst fast in the 
steel teeth, by these prowlers. I sat down, to think of spring guns, and long 
for means to prevent this robbery of my traps, when a sergeant came in, 
with the result of Col. Harney's morning's chase, the beautiful Ocelot, from 
which my drawing was made. 

This was a new animal to me, as. though I knew of its existence, I had 
never seen one, so that my delight was only equalled by my desire to paint 
a good figure of it. Its beautiful skin makes a most favourite bullet 
pouch, and its variegated spots are only surpassed by the rich glossy coat 
and fur of the far famed ' black otter.' " 

In his many long hunts. Col. Harney must have often and often past the 

262 OCELOT. 

lurking Wako and Camanche, who quailed at his soldierly bearing, while 
any other man would have had perchance a dozen arrows shot at him. 


We have heard of an occasional specimen of this cat having been ob- 
tained in the southern parts of Louisiana. Nuttall saw it in the State of 
Arkansas ; our specimens were procured in Texas. It is common in 
Mexico ; its southern range has not been accurately determined. 


Much confusion still exists among writers in reference to the spotted cats 
of Mexico and South America, which can only be removed by the 
careful observations of naturalists in the native regions of these closely alli- 
ed species. 







American Red Fox. 
PLATE L X X X V I I— Male 

V. Rufo-fulvoque varius ; collo subtus ventreque imo albis ; pectore 
cano ; antibrachiis antice prodiisque nigris ; digilis fulvis ; cauda apice 



Fur reddish or fulvous ; beneath fhr neck and belli/ white ; chest arm/ ; 
front part of the fore legs and feet, black ; toes fulvous : tip of the tail white. 


Canis Fulvus. Desm. Mamm. p. 203. 

" Fr. Cuvier, in Diet. des. Sc. Nat. VIII. p, 5G8. 
Renard de Viroisik. Palesotde Beauvois Mem. Sur. 
Le Rksahd. Bullet, Soo. Phil. 
Red 1-\>x. Sabine, Franklin's Journ. p. 656. 
Canis Fulvus. Harlan, 89. 

" " Godman, vol. 1. p. 280. 

Vclpks Fulvus. Rich. Fauna, B. A. p. 91. 

De Kay, Nat. Hist. N. Y., p. 44, fig. 1, pi. 7. 


This animal bears so strong a resemblance to the European Fox. (v. vul 
garis), that it was regarded as the same species by early naturalists. No 
one. however, who will compare specimens from both countries, can have 
a doubt of their being very distinct. Our Red Fox is a little the largest, its 
legs are less robust, its nose shorter and more pointed, the eyes nearer 
together, its feet and toes more thickly clothed with fur, its ears shorter, 
it has a finer and larger brush, and its fur is much softer, finer, and of a 
brighter colour. 

It stands higher on its legs than the Gray Fox, and its muzzle is not so long 
and acute, as in that species. It is formed for lightness and speed, and is 
more perfect in its proportions than any other species in the genus with 
which we are acquainted. 

The hair on the whole body is soft, silky, and lustrous ; the ears are cloth- 
ed with short hairs on both surfaces, and the feet and toes are so clothed 


with hair, that the nails are concealed. The body of this species has a 
strong musky smell, far less disagreeable, however, than that of either 
the skunk or mink. It becomes less offensive in a state of domestication. 


Point of nose, outer extremity of ears, and outer surfaces of legs below 
the knees, black ; forehead, neck, flanks, and back, bright-reddish, and a 
little deeper tint on the back and fore-shoulders ; around the nostrils, 
margins of the upper jaw, and chin, pure white ; throat, breast and a nar- 
row space on the under surface, dingy-white ; extreme end of brush 
slightly tipped with white ; inner surface of ears, and base of the outer sur- 
face, yellowish. The hair on the body is of two sorts : long hairs interspers- 
ed among a dense coat of softer, brighter, and more yellowish fur ; on the 
tail the longer interspersed hairs are more numerous, and many of them are 
quite black, giving the tail a more dusky appearance than rest the of the body. 

In addition to the distinct varieties of this species, the black and cross 
Fox, we have seen some shades of difference in colour in the red variety. 
In some the colours on the back are considerably darker than in others 
We have seen several with the nose and chin nearly black, and in others 
the white tip at the tail is replaced with black. 


From point of nose to root of tail, 
Tail (vertebrae) 

" to end of hair, 
Height at shoulders, - 

" of ears posteriorly - 













This Fox, in times gone by, was comparatively rare in Virginia, and 
farther south was unknown. It is now seldom or never to be met with 
beyond Kentucky and Tennessee. Its early history is not ascertained, it 
was probably for a long time confounded with the Gray Fox, (which is in 
many parts of the country the most abundant species of the two,) and af- 
terwards was supposed to have been imported from England, by some Fox- 
hunting governor of one of the " colonies." It was first distinguished from the 
Gray Fox and hunted, in Virginia ; but now is known to exist in all the 
Northern States, and we are somewhat surprised that it should so long 
have been overlooked by our forefathers. No doubt, however, the culti- 


vation and improvement of the whole country, is the chief reason why the 
Red Fox has become more numerous than it was before the Revolution, 
and it will probably be found going farther south and west, as the woods 
and forests give place to farms, with hens, chickens, tame turkeys, ducks, 
&c, in the barn-yards. 

The Red Fox is far more active and enduring than the Gray, and gene- 
rally runs in a more direct line, so that it always srives both dogs and hun- 
ters a good long chase, and where the hounds are not accustomed to follow, 
it will frequently beat-out the whole pack, and the horses and huntsmen 
to boot. 

In some parts of the country, however, it is chased and killed with dogs, 
in fine style. The following account of the mode of taking the Red Fox, 
at the sea side in New-Jersey, near Cape May. is from an interesting letter 
written to us in December, 1 S 1 5. by nur friend Edward Harris, Esq., of 
Moorestown, in the neighbourhood of Philadelphia : it is quite different from 
the. ordinary mode of hunting the Red Fox. He begins thus : 

" On Saturday, a week ajjo. 1 went to Cape May Court-house, where I 
spent Monday and Tuesday among the quails, (perdrix virginianus), which 
I found exceedingly abundant, but the ground so bad for shooting, that in 
both days two of us shot but thirty-three birds. On Wednesday my friend 
Mr. Holmes took me to Beasi.ey's Point at the northern extremity of the coun- 
ty : here 1 was sorry to learn that young Beaslev, who was to have re- 
turned from Philadelphia on the Saturday previous, had not yet made his 
appearance : his father, however, showed a great desire to forward my views 
in regard to "Monsieur Reynard." The next day it rained cats and dogs, and 
Tom Beasley did not arrive in the stage. In the afternoon it cleared oft 
sufficiently to make a " a drive" in the point, where we started a noble 
specimen in beautiful pelage, but alas! he. would not come near the 

The next morning, we drove the same ground, being the only place on the 
main land where there was any prospect of driving a Fox to standers with- 
out dogs, (of which there are none in the vicinity). This time we saw 
none. After dinner I took my pointer, and lm^ed eight brace and a half 
of quails, having this time found them on good ground. The next day. 
Saturday, with three drivers, and three standers, we drove the beach for 
five and a-half miles, without seeing a fox, and so ended this unsuccessful 
expedition. I had great hopes of this beach, (PECK's),as it had not been hunt- 
ed since the winter before the last, although some of the gunners told m*» 
ihey had seen but few " signs" since that time. 

The mode of driving, which requires no dogs, is for the drivers to be fur 
lushed with two boards, or shingles, which they strike together, or with 

VOL. II. 31. 


what is better, a rattle, similar to a watchman's. The standers are sent 
ahead to a narrow part of the beach, where the creeks of the salt-marshes 
approach nearest to the sand-hills : when they are supposed to have reach- 
ed their stands, the drivers enter, and walk abreast among the bushes, 
between the sand-hills and the marshes, making all the noise they can, 
with their lungs, as well as their boards or rattles ; and these unusu- 
al noises are almost sure to drive the Foxes to the standers, where 
if they pass harmless, they have again to run the gauntlet to the 
end of the beach, at the inlet, where, Mr. Beasley assures me, he 
has known seven Red Foxes cornered, out of which four were killed, and 
three escaped from bad shooting. We made four drives in the five and 
a-half miles. 

The facts in regard to the history of the Red Fox on the Jersey coast 
that I have been able to collect, are few ; such as they are I will give 
them to you. 

Certain it is that they frequent the beaches in great numbers, and so far 
as I can learn, the Gray Fox is not found in the same places, nor is the 
raccoon, which we know to be so abundant on the sea islands and beaches 
of our southern coast. They pass to the beaches on the ice, in the whiter 
season, when the " sounds" are frozen, and have frequently been seen in the 
day time, making their passage, though doubtless it is more frequently per- 
formed in the night. Their means of subsistence there are ample, consisting 
of wild fowl of various kinds, upon which they spring while they are asleep 
upon the ponds and creeks, but more particularly upon the wounded fowl 
which escape from the numerous gunners, also crabs and fish, which are 
thrown up dead by the surf, and rabbits and wading birds, in the summer. 
A marvellous story is told of their sagacity in selecting the food they like 
best, which is vouched for by Mr. Beasley, and all the gunners along 
shore, but which I think requires confirmation, at least so far as to have 
the fish in question, seen by some naturalist in the state described by the 
narrators, in order to ascertain its name, or describe it, if new, before its 
publication is ventured on. The story is, that a certain fish, called the cramp- 
fish, from its supposed power of paralizing the hand which touches it while 
living, is thrown ashore dead, by the surf in the winter season, that every 
one of these fishes contains a bird, such as the coot, (either fusca otper- 
spicillata), or a gull, which appears to have destroyed the fish, by its prov- 
ing rather hard to digest, without having been plucked. Mr. Fox finds 
the fish that has come to this deplorable end, and either in the vain hope 
of restoring animation to the unfortunate defunct, or for the gratification of 
a less noble impulse, he makes a longitudinal incision into the peritonaeum 
of the subject, and extracts the bird, of which he makes a meal ; but, mind 


you, Mr. Fox has profited by the awful example before him — he picks the 
bird before he eats it. Moral — never swallow what you cannot digest. 
But, to be serious, I do not mean to ridicule the fact, which I cannot but 
believe with the testimony which accompanies it, but if it be new, which I 
cannot answer for, it might in its plain, unvarnished form, without beine; 
announced in pedantic Latin, afford too tempting a morceau for the snarl- 
ing critic. The fish are said to reach sometimes the length of four-feet, 
with a mouth twenty-two inches wide, they are scaled, and are said to re- 
semble, somewhat, the sea cat-fish, with which I am not acquainted. The 
Fox on the beach when hunted by hounds, resorts to his usual trick of 
taking the water, to throw the dogs offtlic scent, by following the retreat- 
ing surf, so that its return may efface his trail, then lying down among the 
sand hills to rest, while the dogs are at fault. In the woods on the main 
land both Red and Gray Foxes are abundant, the latter rather predominat- 
ing. The Foxes are abundant on some of the beaches, and generally may 
be procured. Mr. SrENCER, of Mount Holly, has been on a party when 
five were killed, but I do not know where, nor whether it was this season 
or before." 

We have not been able to procure the fish which is alluded to in the 
foregoing, but have no doubt of the correctness of the account. The Red 
Fox will eat. fish as well as birds, and when hard pressed does not refuse 
even carrion. It is, therefore, probable that the discovery of the bird 
within the dead fish, may be the result of accident rather than of instinct, 
reason, or keenness of smell on the part of the Fox ; for when he begins 
to devour a fish be must soon find the more savoury bird in its stomach, 
and being fonder of fowl than of fish, he would of course eat the bird and 
leave the. latter. A Fox after having in this way discovered coots, gulls, 
or any other bird, would undoubtedly examine any dead fish that he came 
across, in hopes of similar good luck. Hence the foxes on the beaches have, 
we suppose, acquired the habit of extracting birds from the stomachs of 
such fish as have swallowed them, and are cast ashore dead by the storms 
on the coast ; and they also at times get a plentiful meal from the dead 
birds that float ashore. We received a beautiful specimen of the Red Fox, 
in the flesh, from our friend Mr. Harris, not long after the foregoing letter, 
and our figure was drawn from it. We represented the animal just 
caught in a steel-trap. 

The Red Fox brings forth from four to six young at a litter, although 
not unfrequently as many as seven. The young are covered, for some 
time after they are born, with a soft woolly fur, quite unlike the coat of the 
grown animal, and generally of a pale rufous colour. Frequently, how- 
ever, the cubs in a litter are mixed in colour, there being some red and some 


black-cross Foxes together : when this is the case it is difficult to tell 
which are the red and which the cross Foxes until they are somewhat 
grown. In these cases the parents were probably different in colour. 

This animal feeds upon rats, rabbits, and other small quadrupeds, and 
catches birds, both by lying in wait for them, and by trailing them up 
in the manner of a pointer dog, until watching an opportunity he can 
pounce or spring upon them. In our article on the Gray Fox, (vol. 1., 
p. 164) we have described the manner in which this is done by that 
species, and the Red Fox hunts in the same way. 

The Red Fox also eats eggs, and we have watched it catching crickets 
in an open field near an old stone wall. It is diverting to witness 
this — the animal leaps about and whirls round so quickly as to be able to 
put his foot on the insect, and then gets hold of it with his mouth ; we 
did not see him snap at them ; his movements reminded us of a kitten 
playing with a mouse. 

We once knew a Red Fox that had been chased frequently, and always 
escaped at the same spot, by the hounds losing the track : the secret was 
at last found out, and proved to be a trick somewhat similar to the 
stratagem of the Gray Fox related in our first volume, p. 171 ; the 
Red Fox always took the same course, and being ahead of the dogs so 
far that they could not see him, leaped from a fallen log on to a very 
sloping tree, which he ascended until concealed by the branches, and 
as soon as the dogs passed he ran down and leaping on to his old 
track ran back in his former path. So dexterously was this "tour" 
performed that he was not suspected by the hunters, who once or twice 
actually whipped their dogs off the trail, thinking they were only fol- 
lowing the " back track." 

The Red Fox is in the habit of following the same path, which enables 
the fox hunters to shoot this species from "stands," even in a country 
where the animal has room enough to take any course he may choose 
to run. The " hunters " who go out from the city of New-York, are 
a mixed set, probably including Germans, Frenchmen, Englishmen, and 
Irishmen, and each one generally takes his own dog along, (on the 
speed and prowess of which he is ready to bet largely,) and the hunt 
is organized on the height beyond Weehawken in " the Jerseys," where 
a good many Red Foxes are to be found, as well as more Gray ones. 

The men are all on foot, and station themselves along ridges, or in 
gaps in the rocky hilly country, now running to a point, to try and 
get a shot, now yelling to their dogs, and all excitement and hubbub. 
If the Fox doubles much, he is very apt to get shot by some one before 
he passes all the " standers," and the hunters then try to start another ; 


but the Fox often gets away, as the underbrush is thick and a good 
deal of the ground swampy, and in that case he makes for a large 
rocky hill which stands in the Newark marshes, familiarly known as 
Rattlesnake hill. When running across the low level to this strong- 
hold the Fox is frequently seen by the whole company of hunters, and the 
chase is lengthened out to a run of many miles, as Reynard will turn 
again toward the high ridges nearer the Hudson River. 

We will give an an account of one of these hunts as related by some 
young friends, who having two fine harriers (to contribute their share of 
dogs to the pack.) were gladly hailed by the other gentlemen in the field. 

"After some beating about among the thickets and ravines, we found 
the dogs had strayed away down the side of the hills nearly to the level 
of the marshes, and raising our horn to call them up, observed that they 
were running toward a cur-dog that appeared to have come from some- 
where in them; we immediately gave a loud halloo, and urged all 
the hounds to the chase. The cur turned tail at once, the whole pack 
" opened " after him in full cry, and all the hunters came running forth 
from the woods to the brow of the hill, whence we had a view of the 
whole scene. The cur looked a good deal like a Fox, at a distance, and 
most of the hunters thought he was one " certain," he shewed good bot- 
tom, took several leaps over the stone walls and fences, and dodged about 
and round patches of briars and rocks with extraordinary agility, until 
he got fairly off towards his home, when he positively "streaked it," until, 
to the utter amazement of the hunters, he jumped on to a wall enclosing 
a small farm yard, and disappeared within, immediately setting up a loud 
bark of defiance, while some of the hunters who had expressed most 
confidence, were loudly laughed at by their eomradea, who banteriagly 
asked what they would take for their dogs, &c, and broke out jn fresh 
roars of merriment." 

The Red Fox is taken in traps, but is so very wary that it is necessary 
to set them with great nicety. 

Dr. Richardson tells us that the best fox hunters in the fur countries 
use tutafatidm, etutofmn, and other strong smelling substances, with 
which they rub their traps and the small twigs set up in the neigh- 
bourhood, alleging that Foxes are fond of such perfumes. 

The same author informs us that their flesh is ill tasted, and is eaten 
only through necessity. 

Red Foxes have gradually migrated from the Northern to the Soulli- 
ern States. This change of habitation may possibly be owing to the 
more extensive cultivation to which we have alluded, (at p. 265, in this 
article,) as a reason for this species having become more numerous than 


it was before the Revolution. This idea, however, would seem to be over- 
thrown by the continued abundance of Gray Foxes in the Eastern States. 
In the early history of our country the Red Fox was unknown south of 
Pennsylvania, that State being its Southern limit. In process of time it was 
found in the mountains of Virginia, where it has now become more abun- 
dant than the Gray Fox. A few years afterwards it appeared in the 
more elevated portions of North Carolina, then in the mountains of South 
Carolina, and finally in Georgia ; where we have recently observed it. 

This species was first seen in Lincoln County, Georgia, in the year 1840, 
since then it has spread over the less elevated parts of the country, and is 
not rare in the neighbourhood of Augusta. We are informed by Mr. 
Beile, an intelligent observer of the habits of animals, that on one occasion 
near Augusta, as he was using a call for wild turkeys, a little before 
sunrise, in the vicinity of Augusta, two Red Foxes came to the call, suppos- 
ing it to be that of a wild turkey, and were both killed by one discharge 
of his gun 

In order to ascertain whether the speed of the Red Fox was as great 
in the south as in the colder regions of the north, several gentlemen near 
Augusta, in the winter of 1844, resolved to test the question by a regular 
Fox chase. They congregated to the number of thirty, with one hun- 
dred hounds, many of them imported dogs, and all in fine running order. 
They started a Fox at two o'clock on a moonlight morning. He took to 
a pretty open country on the west bank of the Savannah river. A 
number of gentlemen were mounted on fleet horses. Mr. Beile rode in 
succession three horses during the chase, two of which were good hunters. 
The pursuit of the flying beast was kept up till three o'clock in the 
afternoon, having continued thirteen hours, when the horses and the 
whole pack of hounds were broken down, and the hunt was abandoned. 
This account does not accord with that given by Richardson, who states 
(Fauna Boreali. Am. p. 93,) " The Red Fox does not possess the wind 
of its English congener. It runs for about a hundred yards with great 
swiftness, but its strength is exhausted in the first burst, and it is soon 
overtaken by a wolf or a mounted huntsman." It is quite evident that 
our estimable friend never had an opportunity of participating in the 
chase of the American Red Fox. 

Whilst the Gray Fox seldom is known to dig a burrow, concealing its 
young usually beneath the ledges of rocks, under roots, or in the hollow 
of some fallen tree, the Red Fox on the contrary, digs an extensive burrow 
with two or three openings. To this retreat the Fox only flies after a 
hard chase and as a last resort. If, as often happens, the burrow is on 
level ground it is not very difficult by ascertaining the direction of the 


galleries and sinking a hole at intervals of seven or eight feet, to dig 
out and capture the animal. When thus taken he displays but little 
courage — sometimes, like the Opossum, closing liis ryes and feigning 

The young, from four to six at a birth, are born in February and March, 
they are blind when born, and arc not seen at the mouth of the den for 
about six weeks. 

It is at this period, when (br snows in the Northern States are still on 
the ground, that the Fox, urged by hunger and instinct, goes out in search 
of prey. At a later period, both the parents hunt to provide food for their 
young. They arc particularly fond of young lambs, which they carry oil" 
for miles to their burrows. They also kill geese, turkeys, ducks, and other 
poultry, and have a bad reputation with the farmer. They likewise feed 
on grouse and partridges, as well as on hares, squirrels, and field-rats ot 
various species, as we have previously mentioned. 


The Red Fox exists in the fur countries to the North, is found in La- 
brador to the East, and in the Russian settlements on the Wort of our 
continent. Its Southern limit at present is Abbeville, in South Carolina, 
and Augusta, in Georgia ; a few individuals have been seen in those 
States, near the sea-board. It also appears in Tiiiinssre, Kentucky, and 
Missouri. We have not heard of its existence in Florida, Louisiana, or 


It is now so generally admitted that the Red Fox of America is a dis- 
tinct species from the European Fox ; that a comparison seems unneces- 
sary. We have seen no specimen in this country that can be referred to 
Cards rulpes. 



Worm-wood Hare. 
PLATE LXXXVIIL— Males and Female. 

L. Parvus, canescens, nucha et cruribus dilute ferugineis, cauda supra 
canescens, subtus alba, gula et ventre albis, vellere toto ad basin cano ; 
auriculis longitudine capitis, tarsus dense vestitis. 


Small ; of a gray colour, pale rufus on the back of the neck and legs ; 
tail, above, the colour of the body ; beneath, white ; under parts of the neck, 
and lower surface of the body, white ; all the fur gray at the base ; ears 
as long as the head ; tarsus, well clothed. 


Lepus Artemisia. Bach, Worm-wood Hare. Journal Acad. Nat. Sciences, 
vol. 8, p. 1, p. 94. 


This small Hare is a little less than our common gray Rabbit, the 
ears are longer and more conspicuous. The head is much arched, and 
the upper incisors deeply grooved. 


This species is grayish-black and brownish-white above ; the fur is 
soft, pale-gray at the base, shaded into brownish externally, annulated 
with brownish-white near the apex, and black at the tips ; under parts, 
and inner sides of the limbs, white ; the hairs pale-gray at the base ; 
neck, with the hairs on the sides, and under parts gray, tipped with 
brownish- white, having a faint yellow hue ; chin and' throat grayish- 
white, the hairs being gray at their base, and white at their tips. The 
whole back of the neck and limbs exteriorly of a pale rusty-fawn colour; 
hairs on the neck uniform to the base ; soles of the feet, very pale soiled 
yellowish-brown ; tail, coloured above as the back, with an admixture 
of grayish-black hairs, beneath, white ; ears, externally on the anterior 


- § 


part, coloured as the crown of the head ; posteriorly, asny white ; at the 
apex margined with black ; internally, nearly naked, excepting the pos- 
terior part, where they are grizzled with grayish black and white ; in the 
apical portion they are chiefly white. 


Inches. Lioaa. 

Length from nose to root of tail, - 12 

From heel to point of longest nail, - 3 2 

Height of ears externally, - - - 2 8 

From ear to point of nose, 2 7 

Tail (vertebrae) about, ... i i 

To end of fur, 1 9 


Mr. Townsenp, who procured this species at Fort Walla-walla, re- 
marks, " it is here abundant but very shy and retired, keeping constantly 
in the densest wormwood bushes, and leaping with singular speed from 
one to another when pursued. I have never seen it dart away and run 
to a great distance like other Hares. I found it very difficult to shoot this 
animal, for the reasons stated. I had been residing at Fort Walla-walla 
for two weeks, and bad procured only two. when at the suggestion of Mr. 
Pahbrun, I collected a party of a dozen Indians armed with bows and ar- 
rows, and sallied forth. We bunted through the wormwood within about 
a mile of the Fort, and in a few hours returned bringing eleven Hares. 
The kern eyes of the Indians discovered the little creatures squatting 
under the bushes, where to a white man they would have been totally in- 
visible. This Hare, when wounded and taken, screams like our common 


"This small Hare,*' we are informed by Mr. Townsend, "inhabits the 
wormwood plains near the banks of the streams in the neighbourhood of 
Fort Walla-walla. I cannot define its range with any degree of cer- 
tainty, but I have every reason to believe that it is very contracted, never 
having met with it many miles from this locality." 

VOL. II. — 3ft 


SCIURUS SAYII.—Aud. and Bach. 

Say's Sciuirrel. 


S. Sciurus cinereus magnitudine sub aequans. Corpore supra lateribus- 
que cano-nigroque variis ; capitis lateribus orbitis que pallide cano-ferru- 
gineis ; genis auriculusque saturate fuscis ; cauda supra ferrugineo-ni- 
groque varia, infra splendide ferruginea. 


About the size of the cat-squirrel (S. cinereus) ; body above, and on the sides 
mixed with gray and black ; sides of the head and orbits, pale ferruginous ; 
cheek and under the eye, dusky ; tail, above, mixed with ferruginous and 
black, beneath, bright ferruginous. 


Sciurus Macrourus. Say, Long's Exped. vol. 1., p. 115. 

S. Magnicaudatus. Harlan, Fauna, p. 178. 

S. Macroureus. Godman's Nat. Hist. vol. 2, p. 134. 


In size and form this species bears a considerable resemblance to the 
Cat-Squirrel (S. cinereus). It is a little longer in body, not quite as stout, and 
has shorter ears. In length and breadth of tail, they are about equal. 
The first molar tooth in the upper jaw, which in some of the species is de- 
ciduous and in others permanent, was wanting in the six specimens we ex- 
amined ; we presume, however, it exists in very young animals ; mammae, 
8, placed equi-distant on the sides of the belly ; palms, as is usual in this 
genus, naked, the rudimental thumb protected by a short blunt nail ; 
the feet are covered with hair, which extends between the toes, half con- 
cealing the nails; hair on the body, of moderate length, not as coarse as that 
of the Fox-Squirrel, (S. capistratus), but neither as fine or woolly as that of 
S. cinereus. Our specimens were obtained in summer. — Say has remarked : 

" The fur of the back in the summer dress, is from three-fifths to seven- 
tenths of an inch long ; but in the winter dress, the longest hairs of the 
middle of the back are from one inch to one and three-fourths in length. 


He also remarks that it is only in winter that the cars are fringed, which 
is the necessary consequence of the elongation of the hair ; in our summer 
specimens, the ears are thinly clothed with hair, not rising above the mar- 


The fur on the back, is for one half its length from the base plumbeous, then 
pale cinnamon, then a narrow line of black, then cinereous, and broadly 
tipped with black, giving it what is usually termed an iron-gray colour ; 
the hairs on the under surface are of a light-ash colour at base, and with- 
out any annulations brighten into ferruginous at apex, the paler colours 
beneath giving way to the broader markings on the extremities; the eyes 
and moustaches are black ; nails, dark-brown; sides of face, around the eyes, 
both surfaces of ears, feet, chin, neck, inner surfaces of legs, and under sur- 
face of tail, bright ferruginous ; the hairs on the tail, are at their roots red- 
dish-yellow, with three black annulations, and are broadly tipped with red- 


From point of nose to root of tail - 

Tail (vertebra) 

" to end of fur - 
Height of ear posteriorly - 


The habits of this Squirrel are not very different from those of the Cat 
Squirrel, to which it is most nearly allied. It does not run for so great a 
distance on the ground before taking a tree as the southern Fox Squirrel, 
nor does it leap quite as actively from tree to tree as the northern Gray 
Squirrel, {S. migratoi-ius,) but appears to possess more activity, and agility 
than the Cat Squirrel. 

The forests on the rich bottom lands of the Wabash, the Illinois, and 
the Missouri rivers are ornamented with the stately pecan-tree (Carya 
flirtpformis), on the nuts of which these squirrels luxuriate ; they also re- 
sort to the hickory and oak trees, in the vicinity of their residence, as well 
as to the hazel bushes, on the fruits of which they feed 

They are becoming troublesome in the corn-fields of the farmer, who has 
commenced planting his crops in the remote but rapidly improving states 
and territories west of the Ohio. 







The flesh is represented by all travellers as delicate, and is said to be 
equal in flavour to that of any of the species. 


This squirrel is found along the shores of the Missouri, and in the wood- 
ed portions of the country, lying east and north of that river ; we have re- 
ceived several specimens, from Michigan, and it seems to be observed west 
and north of that State. 


This species was first discovered by Mr. Thomas Say, and by him des- 
cribed and named Sciwus Macrourus. This name, unfortunately, was pre- 
occupied, the Ceylon Squirrel having been so designated : (vide Pennant, 
Hist. Quad. ii. p. 140, No. 330.) 

Dr. Harlan and Dr. Godman in their respective works, seeing this, ap- 
plied other names. The former calls it (Sciurus magnicaudatus,) the latter 
(Sciurus macroureus.) Authors copied Mr. Say's description almost liter- 
ally. Dr. Harlan gives Say's name (S. macrourus,) as a synonyme, and 
Dr. Godman gives his name (Sciurus macroureus) as Say's name : giving in 
a note intimation that he has taken the liberty of changing the name by 
the addition of a single letter, which he considers sufficient to render 
further change unnecessary. Neither of these gentlemen claimed the dis- 
covery of this species, gave original descriptions, or appear to have ever 
seen the animal ; and, according to all rules which should govern natural- 
ists, they had no right to name it. We, therefore, having procured a good 
many specimens, and having from them identified, and described this 
species, have used the grateful privilege of naming it in honour of its dis- 
coverer, Mr. Say, and have given Dr. Harlan's and Dr. Godman's names 
as synonymes. 



Common Mouse. 
PLATE X C. Femalb, ahd Youno. 
M. Corpore fusco ; subtus ciner asccnti. 


Dusky gray above, cinereous beneath. 


Mus Museums. Linn., 12 Ed., p. 83. 

Mouse. Pennant, Arct. Zool. vol. 1. p. 131. 

Mus Musculus. Say, Long's Expedition, vol. 1, p. 262. 

" " Harlan, p. 149. 

" " Godman, vol. 2, p. 84. 


The Common Mouse is more generally and familiarly known than any 
other species, and therefore requires no very minute description. It is 
small in size ; head, elongated ; nose, sharp ; ears, large, erect, ovate, and 
nearly naked on both surfaces ; legs, slender ; nails, sharp, slightly hooked ; 
tail, round, nearly as long as the body, scaly, and slightly covered with 
short hair. 


Eyes, black ; incisors, yellowish ; whiskers, mostly black ; fur on the 
back, plumbeous at the roots, slightly tipped with brownish, giving it a 
dusky grayish colour ; ears a shade lighter ; under surface, and beneath 
the tail, obscure ash-colour. 

There are some varieties : — very rarely one is found black, others spot- 
ted white and black ; one variety is an albino, white with red eyes, breeds 
in confinement, and produces young with white colour, and the red eyes 
of the parents. 




Length of head and body - - - - 3i 

Tail 3i 

Height of ear ....... 4± 


We have attempted to shew a portion of a shelf in a pantry, on which 
stands a china jar, with its indigo-blue peaked mountains, its fantastic trees 
and its (take them altogether) rather remarkable landscapes, reminding 
us more of the sweetmeats it contains than of aaght in the way of nature ; 
and we have also portrayed a plate, with a piece of hard old cheese in it, 
on which a Mouse is standing in the act of listening, while another in the 
plate, and two more on the shelf, likewise appear a little startled, and are 
expecting to be disturbed ere they can make their intended meal ; the 
little rascals have reason to fear, for the careful housekeeper has heard 
them of late, squealing in their squabblings with each other, has found the 
marks of their teeth on the bread and butter, and is determined to get rid 
of them instanter, if possible ; she is calling now to her faithful pussy cat, 
and inquiring for the trap. 

But although the thievish Mouse is often frightened, and may be said 
to eat his dinner with " a cat " over his head, although he is assailed 
with pokers, broomsticks, &c, whenever he unluckily runs across the 
floor, and in fact is killed as often as his death can be compassed by the 
ingenuity of man, or the cunning and quickness of his ally the cat, the 
Mouse will not retire from the house, and even where the supply of food 
for him is small, or in rooms that have long been shut up, he may be 
found ; and would he let our drawings and books alone, we should will- 
ingly allow him the crumbs from our table ; but he will sometimes gnaw 
into shreds valuable papers, to make a bed behind some bureau or old 
chest. He in his turn frightens man at times, and should the hard-hearted 
hoarding wretch who has made gold his God, while with aged, trembling 
hands, locked in his inmost chamber, he counts his money-bags, but hear 
a little Mouse ; what a feeling of terror shoots through his frame ; despair 
seems for an instant to be written on his face, and he clutches convul- 
sively the metal to which he is a slave ; another moment, and he recovers, 
but he is still agitated, and hastily secures with locks and bolts the trea- 
sure which is to him more precious than the endearments of a wife, the 
love of children, the delights of friendship and society, the blessings and 


prayers of the poor, or the common wants of humanity in his own 

Many a young lady will scream at sight of a poor little Mouse, and 
many a brave young man might be startled in the stillness of the night by 
the noise made by this diminutive creature, especially if given to the rend- 
ing of the " Mysteries of Udolpho" or the " Castle of Otranto," late in the 
hours of darkness, alone in a large old lumbering house. 

The Common Mouse is a graceful, lively little animal — it is almost om- 
nivorous, and is a great feeder, although able to live on but little food if 
the supply is scanty. This species has from four to ten young at a litter, 
and the female suckles her young with tender care. When first born, they 
are very small, almost naked, and of a pinkish colour. The Mouse has seve- 
ral litters every year. We kept a pair in confinement, which produced four 
times, having from four to nine in each litter. Dr. Godman quotes Aris- 
totle, who says that " a pregnant female being shut up in a chest of grain ; 
in a short time a hundred and twenty individuals were counted." 

On examining our corn-crib in the spring, and cleaning it out : although 
it was constructed with a special view to keep off rats and vermin, being 
on posts, and the floor raised from the ground some three feet, with boards 
outside inclining downwards all round, we found and killed nearly fifty 
Mice. A basket in the crib, hanging by a rope from a cross-beam, in 
which we had put some choice corn for seed, had been entered by them, 
and every grain of corn in it devoured. We found in the basket nothing 
but husks, and the remains of a Mouse's nest. The animal must 
therefore have climbed up to the roof of the crib, and then descended the 
cord by which the basket of corn was suspended. 

The activity, agility, and grace of the Mouse, have made it a favourite 
pet with the prisoner in his solitary cell, and it has been known to answer 
his call, and come out of its hiding places to play with the unfortunate 
captive, showing the greatest fondness for him, and eating out of his hand 
without fear. 

Of late years, white Mice have been in request in London, where they 
are taught various tricks, and are exhibited by boys in the streets. It is 
stated that in order to increase the number of this variety, persons exclude 
them from the light, this they pretend causes a great many of them to be 
born albinos. We are however satisfied from personal experience that a 
pair of albinos, accidentally produced, would continue to propagate va- 
rieties of the same colour without the aid of darkness ; as is the case in 
the albino variety of the English rabbit. 



The Common Mouse is not a native of America, but exists in all coun- 
tries where ships have landed cargo, and may be said to tread closely on 
the heels of commerce. It was brought to America in the vessels that 
conveyed to our shores the early emigrants. 





Incisive -' Canine — : Molar — = 42. 

6 1-1 7—7 

Head, large ; body, stout, and covered with a coat of thick hair ; ears, 
large, slightly acuminated. 

Legs, stout ; five toes, furnished with strong curved claws, fitted for 

Tail, short ; mamma?, six. two pectoral and four ventral ; no glan- 
dular pouch under the tail. 

Omnivorous, nocturnal, but frequently seen wandering about during 
the day. 

The generic name is derived from the Latin ursus, a Bear. 

Eight species of this genes have been described, three existing in 
Europe, one of which, the Polar Bear, is common also to America, one in 
the mountainous districts of India, one in Java, one in Thibet, and three 
in North America, 


Polar Bear. — White Bear. 

PLATE X CI —Male. 

U. Capite elongata ; cranio applanato ; collo longo ; pilis longis mol- 
libus, albis. 


Head, elongated ; skull, flat ; neck, long ; hair, long, soft, and white 


White Bear. Marten's Spitz. Trans., p. 107. An. 1675. 
Ursus Marittmcs. Lin. Syst. 
Ursus Albus. Brisson, Regne, an. p. 260. 
L'Ocrs Blanc Buffon, vol. 15, p. 128. An. 1767. 
Ursus Marinus. Pallas, vol. 3, p. 69. 
1\>lar Bear. Penn. Arct. Zool., p. 53. 
vol. ii. — 36. 


Ursus Maritimus. Parry's 1st voyage, Supp., p. 183. 
" " Franklin's 1st voyage, p. 648. 

" " Parry's 2nd voyage, Appendix, p. 288. 

" " Richardson, Fauna, p. 30. 

•■ " Scoresby's Account of the Arctic Regions. 


Head and muzzle narrow, prolonged on a straight line with the fore- 
head, which is flattened ; snout, naked ; ears, short ; neck, long ; body, 
long in proportion to its height ; soles of the hind feet equal to one-sixth 
of the length of the body ; hair, rigid, compact and long on the body and 
limbs, is from two to three inches in length, with a small quantity of fine 
and woolly hair next the skin. The whole animal wears the appearance 
of great strength without much agility. 


The naked extremity of the snout, the tongue, margins of the eyelids, 
and the claws, are black ; lips, purplish black ; eyes, dark-brown ; interior 
of the mouth pale violet. The hairs on every part of the body are of a 
yellowish- white colour. 


Specimen in the Charleston Museum : — 

Head and body, - - 

Tail, (vertebrae), ... - - 

" to end of hair, - 
Height of ear, ...... 

Height from shoulder, - - - - 

Girth around the body, - - - - 

" around the hind leg, 
Length of canine teeth, 

" of incisors, - - . - 

We append the following measurements taken from specimens in the 
flesh, by Capt. J. C. Ross, R.N., F.R.S., &c. :— 

Length from snout to end of tail, 
Snout to shoulder, -...-,- 
Snout to occiput, - 
Circumference before the eyes, 





























lit ALB. 










0001 hs. 



At broadest part of the head, 
At largest part of the abdomen. 
Length of alimentary canal. 

The weight varies very much according to the season and condition of 
the animal. 

The largest measured 101.5 inches in length, and weighed 1028 lbs., 
although in poor condition. 


We have .journeyed together, friend reader, through many a deep dell, 
and wild wood, through swamp and over mountain : we have stemmed 
the current of the Mississippi, sailed on our broad lakes, and on the ex- 
tended sea coast, from Labrador to Mexico: we have coursed the huge 
buffalo over the wide prairies, hunted the timid deer, trapped the heaver, 
and caught the fox : we have, in short, already procured, figured, and des- 
cribed, many of our animals ; and now. with your permission, we will 
send yon with the adventurous navigators of the Polar Seas, in search of 
the White Bear, for we have not seen this remarkable inhabitant of the 
icy regions of our northern coast amid his native frozen deserts : and can 
therefore give you little more than such information as may be found in 
the works of previous writers on his habits. Purine: our visit to Labrador 
in 1883, we coasted along to the north as far as the Straits of Belleisle, 
but it being midsummer, we saw no Polar Bears, although we heard from 
tin' settlers that these animals were sometimes seen there: (on one 
occasion, indeed, we thought we perceived three of them on an ice-beri:. 
but the distance was too great for us to be certain), although the abundance 
of seals and tish of various kinds on the shores, would have afforded 
them a plentiful supply of their ordinary food. They are doubtless drifted 
far to the southward on ice-bergs from time to time, but in our voyages 
to and from Europe we never saw any, although we have been for days 
in the ice. 

The Polar Bear is carnivorous, in fact omnivorous, and devours with 
equal voracity the carcases of whales, abandoned, and drifted ashore by 
the waves ; seals, dead fish, vegetable substances, and all other eatable 
matters obtainable, whether putrid or fresh. Dr. Richardson, in the Fauna 
Boreali Americana, has given a good compiled account of this animal, and 
we shall lay a portion of it before our readers. The Dr. says : — " I 


have met with no account of any Polar Bear, killed of late years, which 
exceeded nine feet in length, or four feet and a-half in height. It 
is possible that larger individuals may be occasionally found ; but the 
greatness of the dimensions attributed to them by the older voyagers has, 
I doubt not, originated in the skin having been measured after being much 
stretched in the process of flaying." 

The great power of the Polar Bear is portrayed in the account of a dis- 
astrous accident which befel the crew of Baeentz's vessel on his second 
voyage to Waigat's Straits. " On the 6th of September, 1594, some sailors 
landed to search for a certain sort of stone, a species of diamond. During 
this search, two of the seamen lay down to sleep by one another, and a 
White Bear, very lean, approaching softly, seized one of them by the nape 
of the neck. The poor man, not knowing what it was, cried out "who 
has seized me thus behind ?" on which his companion, raising his head, 
said, " Holloa, mate, it is a Bear," and immediately ran away. The Bear 
having dreadfully mangled the unfortunate man's head, sucked the blood. 
The rest of the persons who were on shore, to the number of twenty, 
immediately ran with their match-locks and pikes, and found the Bear 
devouring the body ; on seeing them, he ran upon them, and carrying 
another man away, tore him to pieces. This second misadventure so ter- 
rified them that they all fled. They advanced again, however, with a 
reinforcement, and the two pilots having fired three times without hitting 
the animal, the purser approached a little nearer, and shot the Bear in the 
head, close by the eye. This did not cause him to quit his prey, for, 
holding the body, which he was devouring, always by the neck, he car- 
ried it away as yet quite entire. Nevertheless, they then perceived that 
he began himself to totter, and the purser and a Scotchman going towards 
him, they gave him several sabre wounds, and cut him to pieces, without 
his abandoning his prey. 

In Barentz's third voyage, a story is told of two Bears coming to the 
carcass of a third one that had been shot, when one of them, taking it 
by the throat, carried it to a considerable distance, over the most rugged 
ice, where they both began to eat it. They were scared from their re- 
past by the report of a musket, and a party of seamen going to the place, 
found that, in the little time they were about it, they had already de- 
voured half the carcase, which was of such a size that four men had 
great difficulty in lifting the remainder. In a manuscript account of 
Hudson's Bay, written about the year 1786, by Mr. Andrew Graham, 
one of Pennant's ablest correspondents, and preserved at the Hudson's 
Bay house, an anecdote of a different description occurs. " One of the 
Company's servants who was tenting abroad to procure rabbits, (Lepus 



American us), having occasion to come to the factory for a few necessaries, 
on his return to the tent passed through a narrow thicket of willows, and 
found himself close to a White Bear lying: asleep. As he had nothing 
wherewith to defend himself, he took the hag- off" his shoulder and held it 
before his breast, between the Bear and him. The animal arose on see- 
ing the man. stretched himself and rubbed his nose, and having satisfied 
his curiosity by smelling- at the bag, which contained a loaf of bread and 
a rundlet of strong beer, walked quietly away, thereby relieving the 
man from his very disagreeable situation." 

Dr. Richakdsoh says, "They swim and dive well, they hunt seals and 
other marine animals with great success. They are even said to wage 
war. though rather unequally, with the walrus. They feed likewise 
on land animals, birds, and eggs, nor do they disdain to prey on carrion, 
or, in the absence of this food, to seek the shore in quest of berries and 
roots. They scent their prey from a great distance, and are often at- 
tracted to the whale vessels by the smell of burning; />rrn L r, or the re- 
fuse of the whale blubber." 

The Dr. quotes Captain Lyons, who thus describes the mode in which 
the Polar Bear surprise^ a Beal : — "The Bear, on Beeing his intended prey. 
gets quietly into the water, and swims to the leeward of him, from 
whence, by frequent short dives, he silently makes his approaches, and 
so arranges his distance, that, at the last dive, he comes to the spot 
where the seal is lying. If the poor animal attempts to escape by 
rolling into tin- water, he falls into the bear's elutohes ; if, on the con- 
trary, he lies still, his destroyer makes a powerful spring, kills him on 
the ice. and devours him at leisure." Captain Lyons describes the pace 
of the Volar Bear, at full speed, as " a kind of shuffle, as quick as the 
sharp gallop of a horse." 

The Polar Bear is by no means confined to the land, on the contrary he 
is seldom if ever seen far inland, but frequents the fields of ice, and swims 
off to floating ice or to ioe-bergs, and is often seen miles from shore. 

It is said that these animals "an- often carried from the coast of Green- 
land to Iceland, where they commit such rax 'agt ;s on the flocks that the 
inhabitants rise in a body to destroy them." Captain Sabthb saw one 
about midway between the north and south shores of Barrow's Straits, 
which are forty miles apart, although there was no ice in sisrht to which 
he could resort to rest himself upon. The Polar Bear is said to be able 
to make long leaps or springs in the water. 

This species is found farther to the north than any other quadruped, 
having been seen by Captain Parry in his adventurous boat-voyage be- 
yond 82 degrees of north latitude 


Pennant, who collected from good authorities much information rela- 
tive to their range, states that they are frequent on all the Asiatic coasts 
of the Frozen Ocean, from the mouth of the Obi eastward, and abound in 
Nova Zembla, Cherry Island, Spitzbergen, Greenland, Labrador, and the 
coasts of Baffin's and Hudson's Bays. Dr. Richardson says, — "They 
were seen by Captain Pabry within Barrow's Straits, as far as Melville 
Island ; and the Esquimaux to the westward of Mackenzie river, told 
Captain Franklin that they occasionally, though very rarely, visited 
that coast. The exact limit of their range to the westward is un- 
certain, but they are said not to be known on the islands in Behring's 
Straits, nor on the coast of Siberia to the eastward of Tchutskoinoss. 
They are not mentioned by Langsdorff and other visitors of the North- 
west Coast of America ; nor did Captain Beechey meet with any in his 
late voyage to Icy Cape. None were seen on the coast between the 
Mackenzie and Copper-Mine River ; and Pennant informs us, that they 
are unknown along the shores of the White Sea, which is an inlet of 
a similar character." 

Dr. Richardson does not think that the Polar Bear is under the same 
necessity for hibernating that exists in the case of the Black Bear, which 
feeds chiefly on vegetable matters, and supposes that although they may 
all retire occasionally to caverns in the snow, the pregnant females alone 
seclude themselves for the entire winter. In confirmation of this idea 
the Dr. mentions that " Polar Bears were seen in the course of the two 
winters that Capt. Parry remained on the coast of Melville Peninsula ; 
and the Esquimaux of that quarter derive a considerable portion of their 
subsistence, not only from the flesh of the female Bears, which they dig to- 
gether with their cubs from under the snow, but also from the males, that 
they kill when roaming at large at all periods of the winter. To this 
statement is added Hearne's account ; he says : — " The males leave the 
land in the winter time and go out on the ice to the edge of the open 
water in search of seals, whilst the females burrow in deep snow-drifts 
from the end of December to the end of March, remaining without food, 
and bringing forth their young during that period ; that when they leave 
their dens in March, their young, which are generally two in number, 
are not larger than rabbits, and make a foot-mark in the snow no bigger 
than a crown piece." 

" In winter," says Mr. Graham, "the White Bear sleeps like other species 
of the genus, but takes up its residence in a different situation, generally 
under the declivities of rocks, or at the foot of a bank, where the snow 
drifts over it, to a great depth ; a small hole, for the admission of fresh 
air, is constantly observed in the dome of its den. This, however, has 


regard solely to the she Bear, which retires to her winter-quarters in No- 
vember, where she lives without (bod. brings forth two young about 
Christmas, and leaves the den in the month of March, when the cubs are 
as large as a shepherd's dog. If, perchance, her offspring are tired, they 
ascend the back of the dam, where they ride secure either in water or 
ashore. Though they sometimes go nearly thirty miles from the sea in 
winter, they always come down to the shores in the spring with their cubs, 
where they subsist on seals and sea-weed. The he Hear wanders about 
the marshes and adjacent parts until November, and then goes out to the 
sea upon the ice, and preys upon seals." 

The Esquimaux account of the hibernation of the Polar Bear is curious : 
it was related to Capt. Lyons by one of their most intelligent men. re- 
joicing in the euphonious name of (Mr.) Ooyarrakhioo I and is as fol- 
lows : — " At the commencement of winter the pregnant bears are very fat, 
and always solitary- When a heavy fall of snow sets in, the animal seeks 
some hollow place in which she can lie down and remain quiet, while the 
snow covers her. Sometimes she will wait until a quantity of snow has 
fallen, and then digs herself a cave: at all events, it seems necessary that 
she should be covered by, and lie amongst, the snow. She now goes to 
sleep, and does not. wake until the spring sun is pretty high, when she 
brings forth two cubs. The cave by this time has become much larger 
by the effect of the animal's warmth and breath, so that the cubs have 
room to move, and they acquire considerable strength by continually suck- 
ing. The dam at length becomes so thin and weak, that it is with great dif- 
ficulty she extricates herself, when the sun is powerful enough to throw a 
si long glare through the snow which roofs the den." The Esquimaux 
affirm that during this long confinement the Bear has no evacuations, and 
is herself the means of preventing them by stopping all the natural pas- 
sages with moss, grass, or earth. The natives find and kill the Bears 
during their confinement by means of dogs, which scent them through the 
snow, and begin scratching and howling very eagerly. As it would be 
unsafe to make a large opening, a long trench is cut of sufficient width to 
enable a man to look down and see where the bear's head lies, and he 
then selects a mortal part, into which he thrusts his spear. The old one 
being killed, the hole is broken open, and the young cubs may be taken 
out by the hand, as, having tasted no blood, and never having been at 
liberty, they are then very harmless and quiet. Females, which are not 
pregnant, roam throughout the whole winter in the same manner as the 

The Polar Bear is at certain seasons and under peculiar circumstances 
a dangerous animal. Like the Grizzly Bear it possesses both strength 


and activity enough to render it ai all times formidable. Although, like 
all Bears, it appears clumsy, can run with great swiftness either on the 
ground or on the ice, and it can easily ascend the slippery sides of ice- 
bergs by the assistance of its claws, being in the habit of mounting on 
their ridges and pinnacles to look out for food or survey the surrounding 
fields of ice. 

When in confinement, the great strength of this Bear is sometimes mani- 
fested to the terror of the spectators. One that was secured in a cage 
fronted with rods of inch iron, bolted into a horizontal flat plate of the 
same metal, several inches wide, near the bottom, and well fastened at 
top, in the stout oak boarding of which the cage was constructed, one day 
when we were present became enraged by the delay of his keeper in 
bringing his food, and seized two of the rods with such a furious grip that 
one of them bent and instantly came out, when the huge beast nearly 
made his escape, and was only prevented from succeeding by the prompt- 
ness of the attendants, who instantly placed the wooden front, used when 
travelling, on the open part of the broken cage and closed it effectually. 
This Bear, like all others we have seen caged, was very restless, and 
would walk backwards and forwards in his prison-house for hours to- 
gether, always turning his head toward the bars in front, at each end of 
this alternating movement, and occasionally tossing his head up and down 
as he walked to and fro. 

Many anecdotes are related of accidents to the crews of boats detached 
from whaling vessels to kill the White Bear, and by all accounts it appears 
to be exceedingly dangerous to attack this animal on the ice. One of 
these accounts, with others of a different character, we will repeat here, 
although they have been published by several authors. 

Dr. Scoresby tells us, that " a few years ago, when one of the Davis's 
Strait whalers was closely beset, among the ice at the ' South-west,' or on 
the coast of Labrador, a Bear that had been for sometime seen near the 
ship, at length became so bold as to approach alongside, probably tempted 
by the offal of the provision thrown overboard by the cook. At this time 
the people were all at dinner, no one being required to keep the deck in 
the then immovable condition of the ship. A hardy fellow, who first 
looked out, perceiving the Bear so near, imprudently jumped upon the 
ice, armed only with a handspike, with a view, it is supposed, of gaining 
all the honour of the exploit of securing so fierce a visitor by himself. But 
the bear, regardless of such weapons, and sharpened probably by hunger, 
disarmed his antagonist, and seizing him by the back with his powerful 
jaws, carried him off with such celerity, that on his dismayed comrades 


rising from their meal and looking abroad, he was so tar beyond their 
reach as lo defy pursuit." 

An equally imprudent attack made on a Bear by a seaman employed in 

one of the Hull whalers, was attended with a iDdicrOUS result. " The 

ship was moored to a piece hi' ice. on which, at a considerable distance, a 
large Bear was observed prowling about for prey. < toe of the ship's com- 
pany, emboldened by an artificial courage derived from the free usi 
rum, which in his economy he had stored for special occasions, undertook 
to pursue and attach the Hear that was within view. \rmedonlv with a 

whale-lance, lie resolutely, and against all persuasion, set out on bis ad- 
venturous exploit. A fatiguing journey of .about a half a league, over a 
yielding surface of snow and rugged hummocks, brought him within 

a few yards of the enemy, which, to his surprise, undauntedly fi d him. 

and seemed to invite him to the combat His courage being by this time 
greatly subdued, partly by evaporation of the stimulus, and partly by the 

undismayed and even threatening aspect of the Bear, he levelled his lance, 
in an attitude suited either for offensive or defensive action, and stopped. 
The Hear also stood still : in vain the adventurer tried to rally couragi 
make the attack ; his enemy was too formidable, and bis appearance too 
imposing. In vain. also, he shouted, advanced his lance, and made feints 
of attack : the enemy, either not understanding, or despising such unman- 
liness. obstinately Stood his ground. Already the limbs of the sailor began 
to quiver ; but the fear of ridicule from his messmates had its influence, 
and he yet scarcely dared to retreat. I'.ruin. however, possessing less re- 
flection, or being regardless of consequences, began, with audacious bold- 
ness, to advance. His nigh approach and unshaken step subdued the 
.■park of bravery, and that dread of ridicule that had hitherto upheld our 
adventurer; he turned and tied. But now- was the time of danger; the 
sailor's flight encouraged the Bear in turn to pursue, and being better 
practised in snow travelling, and better provided for it. he rapidly gained 
upon the fugitive. The whale-lance, his only defence, encumbering him 
in his retreat, he threw it down, and kept on. This Ibrtunatoh excited 
the Bear's attention; he stopped, pawed, bit it, and then renewed the 
chase. Again he was at the heels of the pantintr seaman, who, conscious 
of the favourable oll'ects of the lance, dropped one of his mittens; the 
stratagem succeeded, and while Bruin again stopped to examine it. the 
fugitive improving the interval, made considerable progress ahead. Still 
the Bear resumed the pursuit with a most provoking perseverance, except 
when arrested by another mitten, and finally, by a hat. which he tore to 
shreds between his teeth and paws, and would, no doubt, soon have made 
the incautious adventurer his victim, who was now rapidly losing strength. 
voi,. u— 37 


but for the prompt and well-timed assistance of his shipmates — who, ob- 
serving that the affair had assumed a dangerous aspect, sallied out to his 
rescue. The little phalanx opened him a passage, and then closed to re- 
ceive the bold assailant. Though now beyond the reach of his adversary, 
the dismayed fugitive continued onwards, impelled by his fears, and never 
relaxed his exertions, until he fairly reached the shelter of his ship. The 
Bear once more came to a stand, and for a moment seemed to survey his 
enemies with all the consideration of an experienced general ; when, find- 
ing them too numerous for a hope of success, he very wisely wheeled 
about, and succeeded in making a safe and honourable retreat." 

Several authors speak of the liver of the Polar Bear as being poisonous. 
This is an anomaly for which no reason has yet been assigned ; the fact 
seems, however, well ascertained. All the other parts of the animal are 
wholesome, and it forms a considerable article of food to the Indians of the 
maritime Arctic regions. 

The skin of the Polar Bear is a valuable covering to these tribes, and is 
dressed by merely stretching it out on the snow, pinning it down, and 
leaving it to freeze, after which the fat is all scraped off. It is then gen- 
erally hung up in the open air, and " when the frost is intense, it dries 
most perfectly ; with a little more scraping it becomes entirely dry and 
supple, both skin and hair being beautifully white." " The time of the 
year at which the sexes seek each other is not positively known, but it is 
most probably in the month of July, or of August. Hearne, who is an 
excellent authority, relates that he has seen them killed during this season, 
when the males exhibited an extreme degree of attachment to their com- 
panions. After a female was killed, the male placed his fore-paws over 
her, and allowed himself to be shot rather than relinquish her dead body." 

" The pregnant females during winter seek shelter near the skirt of the 
woods, where they excavate dens in the deepest snow-drifts, and remain 
there in a state of torpid inaction, without food, from the latter part of 
December or early in January till about the end of March ; they then 
relinquish their dens to seek food on the sea-shore, accompanied by their 
cubs."— Godman, Vol. I., pp. 152, 153. 

The affection of the female Polar Bear for her young is exemplified 
by several stories in the Polar voyages. Scoresby says, " a she Bear 
with her two cubs, were pursued on the ice by some of the men, and were 
so closely approached, as to alarm the. mother for the safety of her off- 
spring. Finding that they could not advance with the desired speed, she 
used various artifices to urge them forward, but without success. Deter- 
mined to save them, if possible, she ran to one of the cubs, placed her nose 
under it, and threw it forward as far as possible ; then going to the other, 


she performed the same action, and repeated it. frequently, until she had 
thus conveyed them to a considerable distance. The young Bears seemed 
perfectly conscious of their mother's intention, for as soon as they recover- 
ed their feet, after being thrown forward, they immediately ran on in the 
proper direction, and when the mother came up to renew the effort, the 
little rogues uniformly placed themselves across her path, that they 
might receive the full advantage of the force exerted for their safety." 

The Sagacity of the Polar Bear is said to be great, and it is very difficult 
to entrap this animal, as he scents the ground, and cautiously approaches 
even when the snare is concealed by the snow. Scoresby relates an in- 
stance of a Bear which, having got his fore-foot in a noose, very delibe- 
rately loosened the slip-knot with the other paw. and leisurely walked off 
to enjoy the bail which he had abstracted. 

Capt- J. C Ross states in regard to this species : — "During our stay at 
Fury Beach many of these animals came about us, and several were killed. 
At, that time we were fortunately in no want of provisions, but some of 
our party, tempted by the fine appearance of the meat, made a hearty 
meal oil' the first one that was shot. All that partook of it soon after com- 
plained of a violent headache, which with some continued two or three 
days, and was followed by the skin peeling off the face, hands, and arms ; 
and in some who had probably partaken more largely, off the whole body. 
On a former occasion 1 witnessed a somewhat similar occurrence, when, 
on Sir Edward Parry's Polar journey, having lived for several days wholly 
on two Bears that were shot, the skin peeled off the face, legs, and arms of 
many of the party. It was then attributed rather to the quantity than the 
quality of the meat, and to our having been for sometime previous on very 
short allowance of provisions. The Esquimaux eat its flesh without ex- 
periencing any such inconvenience, but the liver is always given to the 
dogs, and that may possibly be the noxious part. The Esquimaux of 
Boothia Felix killed several during their stay in our neighbourhood in 
1830, all males." 


The Polar Bear inhabits the north of both continents, having been found 
in the highest latitudes ever reached by navigators. It was seen by Capt. 
Parry in latitude 82°. It exists on all the Asiatic coasts of the Frozen 
Ocean, from the mouth of the Obi, eastward, and abounds in Nova Zembla 
and Spitzbergen. In America it is found in Greenland, Labrador, and on 
the coasts of Baffin's and Hudson's Bays. They seem not to be found on 
the islands in Behring's Straits. 

292 POLAR BiiAR. 

McKensie informs us that these animals are unknown in the White Sea, 
or on the coast of Siberia to the eastward of Tchutskoinoss. They have 
been seen on floating icebergs from fifty to a hundred miles at sea. Capt. 
Ross states that this species was found in greater numbers in the neigh- 
bourhood of Port Bowen and Batty Bay in Prince Regent's Inlet, than in 
any other part of the Polar Regions that were visited by the several ex- 
peditions of discovery. This he supposed was owing to the food they 
were enabled to procure in that vicinity, Lancaster Sound being but sel- 
dom covered by permanently fixed ice, and therefore affording them means 
of subsistence during the severity of an arctic winter, and also from its 
being remote from the haunts of the Esquimaux. 




LYNX RUFUS— VAR. MACULATUS.— Hohbtobji \m> \ icors. 

Tr\ \s Ll NX. 

1'LATE X C I I .—Female.— Winter pelage. 

L> rufo-grisea, dorso saturatiore, corporis lateribus tnemberisque externe 

bruneo-maculatis, gula, corporo intra, membrisqae interne albis, bruneo 
latius maculnti auribus pencillatis. 


Brownish-gray on the upper surface, tides of body end outer surface 
of legs, with small brown spots .• under surface of body and inner surface 
of It gs, white, broadly spotted with brown ; ears, pencilled, 


Fklis Maculatts. Horsfield and Vigors. 

" " Zoological Journal, voL 4, p. 380. 

" " Reidhenbaoh, Regnum ajiimale, vol. 1, p. 6, pi. St, 


In size, in shape, in its naked solos — in the form of the skull — the dispo- 
sition and character of its teeth, and in all its habits, this species is so 
much like the Bay Lynx, (L. rufus,) that were it not for the different shades 
of colour, and the peculiar markings of some parts of the body, no 
naturalist would have ventured to describe it as a new species. One of 
the characters given to this supposed species by its original describers is 
that of pencilled ears; this character, however, exists also in the Hay 
Lynx ; in both cases these hairs drop out when the other hairs are shed 
in spring, and are not replaced till the following autumn. The same pe- 
culiarity exists in many of our American squirrels, There is. as in L. 
rufus, a short ruti" under the throat ol the male. The hair is of two 
kinds: the inner, tine. and the outer and longer, not very coarse, and the 
fur. although much shorter, is fully as fine as that of specimens of the 
Bay Lynx obtained in Pennsylvania and Now- York. 


The hairs on the back are at. their roots yellowish-white, gradually 
becoming light-yellow, which colour continues for three-fourths the length, 
when they are barred with brownish-black, then yellowish-brown, tipped 
with black ; on the sides, the hairs are tipped with white ; on the under 


surface, they are white throughout, with a shade of pale-yellow at the 

base. Where black spots exist on the body, the hairs are less annulated 
— are dark-brown at the roots, deepening into black ; and in some spots 
on the sides, and the bands on the tail, the hairs are pure black from the 

Moustaches, white ; around the nose, around the eye, and cheeks, pale 
fawn colour ; lips white ; forehead, obscurely and irregularly marked with 
longitudinal stripes of dark-brown on a light-yellowish ground-colour. 
There are two black lines commencing at a point on a line with the 
articulation of the lower jaw, where they form an acute angle, diverging 
from thence to the sides of the neck, and unite with the ruff, where it is an 
inch broad. The ears are yellowish-white on the inner surface, black on 
the outer, with a broad white patch in the middle, including nearly their 
whole breadth. The slight pencil of hairs at the extremity of the ear is 
black ; on the back the colours are waved, and blended with obscure 
yellowish and brown spots — assuming on the dorsal line slight indications 
of narrow longitudinal stripes. The feet, on the upper surface are dotted 
with small brown spots; on the under surface the ground colour is whitish, 
with irregular patches of black. This is more especially the case on the 
inner surfaces of the thighs and fore legs, which present long stripes 
and patches of black, somewhat irregularly disposed. The tail is white 
on the under surface, barred above with rufous and black ; towards the 
extremity there is first a bar of black about one-third of an inch wide, then 
brownish-gray, then an inch of black ; the white on the under surface 
rises above the black, making the tip of the tail white. 


Male.— Weight 25 lb. Female.— Weight 20 lb. 

Feet. Inches. 

End of nose to eye, - - - 2 - 

" " to burr of ear, 4 j- - 

Between ears, - - - - 3j - 
Nose to crown of head, - - 5£ - 

" to root of tail, - - - 2 9 
Tail (vertebra?) ... 7 - 

" " to end of hair, 7£ 

Hind legs (stretched) beyond tail, 1 1£ 
Fore " " beyond nose, fi£ - - 

Height of shoulder from ground, 1 7f 
Round body behind shoulder, 1 4| 

at the loin, 1 4fc - 




















This variety of Lynx may be called the Common Wild-Cat of Texas, 
where it is occasionally found even on the prairies, although it generally 
confines itself to the neighbourhood of wood- and chaparal. 

The Ti \:hi Wild-Cal is. like the Lyn > rufus, a wily and audacious depre- 
dator — he steals the fowls from the newly-established rancho, or petty 
farm : follows the hares, rats, and birds, and springs upon them in the tall 
rank grass, or thick underbrush, and will sometimes even rob the ranger 
of a fine turkey : for should the Wild-Cat be lurking in the dense thicket, 
when the crack of the rifle is heard, and the wild gobbler or hen falls 
slanting to the earth, he will, instead of flying with terror from the 
startling report of the gun, dart towards the foiling bird, seize it as it 
touches tin- ground, and hear it off at full speed, even if in sighl of the 
enraged and disappointed marksman who brought down the prize. In 
general, however, the Southern Lynx (as this species is sometimes called) 

will fly from man's presence, and will only come abroad during 1I10 day 

when very hard pressed by hunger, when it may he occasionally seen near 
little thickets, on the edges of the prairies, or in the open ground, prowl- 
ing with the Stealthy sneaking gail observed in the domestic cat. when 
similarly employed. This species of Wild-Cat i> better able to . scape 
from an ordinary pack of dogs, than the Common Lynx, being accustomed 
to the great distances across the high dry prairies, which it must fre- 
quently cross ;,t full speed. We have known one chased, from I 1 o'clock 
in the morning till dark night, without being •'treed." The animal, in 
fact, prefers running, to resorting to a tree at all times, and will not 
ascend one unless it he nearly exhausted, and hard pressed by the hounds. 


This variety of the Bay Lynx is believed to exist throughout Mexico: 
we have seen specimens, obtained in that country, in several Museums of 
Europe, especially those of Berlin and Dresden: in the latter, the specimen 
described and figured by Rbichgnbacb is preserved. His figure, however, 
which wc have compared with the original, is likely to mislead : the I 
and tail being much too long. It exists in New Mexico, and we have 
heard that a Wild-Cat. supposed to be the present variety, is found in 
California. The specimen from which our draxving xvas made, was pro- 
cured with several others by JoHK W. Aipt-ron. in the vicinity of Castro- 
ville. on the head waters of the Medina, in Texas : we possess a specimen 


nearly of the same markings, procured by our deceased friend, the lato 
lamented Dr. Wurdemann. 


We have admitted this as a variety of the Bay Lynx with some doubt and 
hesitation, and not without misgivings that it might yet be proved to be a 
distinct species. The permanency of its colours, together with the smaller 
size of our specimens, and their softer fur, may afford sufficient characters 
to entitle it to the name of Maculatus, as given by Horsefield and Vigors. 
Aware, however, of the many varieties in the Bay Lynx, we have not felt 
authorised to regard it as positively distinct. 



Black-Foi itbd Fbrrbt. 


P. Magnitudlne mustelam martem equans, fronte, caudae, apice, pedi- 
busque nigris; supra e flavido fuscus infra albus. 


Sr.i of the pint marten; fun html, feet, and extremity of tail, black; 
yellowish-brown above, white btncaili. 

s\ NON1 MB. 

Pdtoriub Niqripe8. Aud. and Bach, Quadrupeds of North America, vol. 2, 
pi. 93. 


In its dentition this species p< ill the characteristics belonging to 

putorius and from the number and disposition of the teeth, cannot be 
placed in the genus, mustela. The canine teeth are stout and rather long, 
extending beyond the lips; thej are slightly arched and somewhat blunt ; 
the two outer incisors in the upper jaw are largest, the remainder are 
smaller, but regular and conspicuous. The first false molar is small but 
distinctly visible, it is without a lobe: the second is larger and has a 
slight lobe on each side. The great tuberculous tooth has two points and 
an external lobe : the last molar is rather small. In the lower jaw the 
incisors are small, and much crowded together. The three false molars 
on each side increase in size from the first, which is smallest and simple, 
to the third, which is largest and tuberculatcd. The great internal tooth 
has three lobes but no tubercle on the inner side, as is the ease in the 
genus mustela .- the last, or back tooth, is small but simple. 

Body, very long: head, blunt; forehead, arched and broad; muzzle, 
short: eyes, of medium size : moustaches, few : ears, short, erect, broad at 
base, and triangular in shape, clothed on both surfaces with short hair : 
neck, long: legs, short and stout; toes, armed with sharp nails, very 
slightly arched : the feet on both surfaces covered with hair even to the 
soles, concealing the nails. 

vol. 11. — 38 


The pelage is of two kinds of hair, it is short soft and very fine, the 
outer and interspersed hairs are not so fine, but are not long and very 
coarse. The fur is finer than that ol the mink or pine marten, and even 
shorter than that of the ermine. The hairs below the ears, under the 
forearms and belly are the coarsest ; the tail is cylindrical, and less 
voluminous than that of the mink, containing more coarse hair, and less 
fine fur, than in that animal. 


The long hairs on the back are at the roots whitish, with a yellowish 
tinge, broadly tipped with reddish-brown ; the soft under fur is white, 
with a yellowish tinge, giving the animal on the back a yellowish- 
brown appearance, in some parts approaching to rufous ; on the sides 
and rump the colour is a little lighter, gradually fading into yellowish- 
white. Whiskers, white and black ; nose, ears, sides of face, throat, 
under surface of neck, belly, and under surface of tail, white, a shade 
of brownish on the chest between the forelegs. There is a broad black 
patch commencing on the forehead, enclosing the eyes, and running down 
within a few lines of the point of the nose ; outer and inner surfaces of 
the legs, to near the shoulders and hips, black, with a tinge of brownish ; 
the tip of the tail is black, for two inches from the extremity. 


From point of nose to root of tail, .... 

Tail, (vertebrae) .... 

" head to end of hairs .... 

Height of ear posteriorly, - 

From shoulder to end of fore leg, .... 


It is with great pleasure that we introduce this handsome new 
species ; it was procured by Mr. Culbertson on the lower waters of 
the Platte River, and inhabits the wooded parts of the country to the 
Rocky Mountains, and perhaps is found beyond that range, although not 
observed by any travellers, from Lewis and Clark to the present day. 
When we consider the very rapid manner in which every expedition 
that has crossed the Rocky Monntains,has been pushed forward, we can- 
not wonder that many species have been entirely overlooked, and should 
rather be surprised at the number noticed by Lewis and Clark, and by 










Nitall, Townsexd, and others. There has never yet been a Government 
expedition properly organized, and sent forth to obtain all the details, 
which such a party, allowed time enough for thorough investigation, 
would undoubtedly bring hack, concerning the natural history and 
natural resources of the regions of the far west The nearest approach 
to such an expedition having been that so well conducted by Lewis and 
Clark. Nor do we think it at all probable that Government will attend to 
such matters for a lonrc time to come. We must therefore hope that 
private enterprise will gradually unfold the zoological, botanical, and 
mineral wealth of the immense territories we own hut do not yet occup\ . 

The habits of this species resemble, as far as we have learned, those of 
the ferret of Europe. It feeds on birds, small reptiles and animals, eggs, 
and various insects, and is a bold and cunning foe to the rabbits, hares, 
grouse, and Other game of our western regions. 

The specimen from which we made our drawing was received by us 
from Mr. J. G. Bell, to whom it was forwarded from the outskirts or out- 
]>ov!> of the fur traders on the Platte river, by Mr. Coxbertson. It was 
Stuffed with the wormwood so abundant in parts of that country, and was 
rather a poor specimen, although in tolerable preservation. We shall 
have occasion in a future article to thank Mr. Bell for the use of other 
new specimens, this being only one of several instances of his kind ser- 
vices to us, and the zoology of our country, in this way manifested. 


As before stated, the specimen which we have, figured and described 
was obtained on the lower waters of the Platte river. We are not aware 
that another specimen exists in any cabinet 



Nuttal's Hare. 

PLATE XCIV.— Males. 

L. parvus, supra fuscus cum aureo mistus subtus dilute flavo-canescens, 
auriculis amplis rotundatisque, cauda longiuscula, subtus albus. 


Small ; tail of moderate length, general colour above, a mixture of light 
buff and dark brown, beneath, light yellowish grey ; ears, broad and rounded ; 
lower surface of the tail white. 


The anterior upper incisors are more rounded than those of the Ameri- 
can Hare, but in the deep longitudinal furrows, and in other particulars 
they bear a striking resemblance to those of that species ; the accessory, 
upper incisors resemble those of the Hares in general. The lower incisors 
are rather thinner than those of the American Hare, and like the upper, 
more of an oval shape. The upper grinders are furrowed longitudinally, 
like those of other Hares, and have a slight furrow on the inner side, but 
not more apparent than in Lepus aquaticus ; indeed, all the American 
Hares have this furrow, which differs considerably in individuals belong- 
ing to the same species. 

This Hare bears some resemblance to the young of Lepus sylvaticus ; 
the forehead is more arched, and there is no depression in the frontal 
bone, as in the American Hare ; its fur is also much softer, and differs in 
colour ; the whiskers are nearly the length of the head. The ears appeared 
rather short and shrivelled in the dried specimen, but when moistened for 
the purpose of having a drawing of them made became much distended; 
the incurvation on their outer margin was as distinct as in other Hares, 
bearing no resemblance to the funnel-shaped ears of the pika. The tail 
in the living animal must be. conspicuous, although in the dried specimen 
it is concealed by the long fur of the posteriors. The feet are thickly 
clothed with soft hair, completely covering the nails. There are five toes 
on the fore and four on the hind feet. 


Teeth, yellowish white : whiskers, white and black ; the former colour 



predominating ; the whole of the upper surface of the body, a mixture of 
buff and dark brown ; under surface light buff-grey. The fur on the back 
is, for three-fourths of its length from the roots, plumbeous, then light 
ash mixed with buff; and the long interspersed hairs are all tipped with 
black. The ears are pretty well clothed, internally and externally, with 
hairs of an ash colour, bordered with a line of black anteriorly, and edged 
with white. From behind the ears to the back, there is a very broad 
patch of buff, and the same colour, mixed with rufus. prevails on the 
outer surface of the legs, extending to the thighs and shoulders. The soles 
of the feet are yellowish brown. The claws, which are slightly arched, 
are light brown for three-fourths of their length, and are tipped with 
white ; under surface of the tail, white. 



Length from point of nose to insertion of tail, 6£ 

" of Heel, 2 

" fur "ii tlir back, - I 

" of Head, ..... 2£ 

Illicit of ear, .-.-.- i£ 

Tail vertebra), . ....... £ 

Including fur, ....... \j. 


The only information which we have been able to obtain of the habits 
of this diminutive species is contained in the following note from Mr. 
Nuttal, which accompanied the specimen. 

" This little Hare we met with west of the Rocky Mountains, inhabit- 
ing thickets by the banks of several small streams which How into 
the Shoshonee and Columbia rivers. It was frequently seen, in the even- 
ing, about our encampment, and appeared to possess all the habits of the 

Lcpus Sl/ll-dficilS." 


We have not heard of the existence of this Hare in any part of Cali- 
fornia, or New Mexico; and although it is doubtless found in other locali- 
ties than those mentioned above, we cannot venture to assert that it is 
widely distributed 



We described this species from the only specimen we have had an op- 
portunity of examining. It would be satisfactory to be able to investigate 
further, as it needs more information than we have been able to obtain, 
to pronounce decidedly upon its characters, and give its true geographical 




MUS (CALOMYS) AURE LUS .— Aud. and Bach. 
Orange-Coloured Mouse. 
PLATE X C V.— Male and Females. 

M. supra saturate luteus infra pallide flavus : auriculis longis, cauda 
corpore curtiore. 


Ears long ; tail shorter than the body ; bright orange-coloured above, 
light buff beneath. 


This species bears a general resemblance in form to the white-footed 
Mouse, (Mas leucopus.) It is, however, a little larger, and its ears rather 
shorter. Head, long ; nose, sharp : whiskers, extending beyond the ears. 
Fur, very soft and lustrous. The leirs. feet, and heels, clothed with short, 
closely adpressed hairs, which extend beyond the nails ; ears, thinly 
covered with hairs, which do not entirely conceal the colour of the 
skin ; mamm.T, four ; situated far back. 


Head, ears, and whole upper surface, bright, orange ; the fur being for 
three-fourths of its length from the roots, dark plumbeous ; whiskers, 
nearly black, with a few white hairs interspersed ; tail, above and be- 
neath, dark brown ; throat, breast, and inner surface of the forelegs, 
white; belly, light buff. There are no very distinct lines of separation 
between these colours. 




Length of head and body, 




" Tail, 




" Head, 




" Ear posteriorly, 



" Tarsus, including nail, 





In symmetry of form and brightness of colour, this is the prettiest spe- 
cies of Mus inhabiting our country. It is at the same time a great 
climber. We have only observed it in a state of nature in three in- 
stances in the oak forests of South Carolina ; it ran up the tall trees with 
great agility, and on one occasion concealed itself in a hole (which ap- 
parently contained its nest,) at least thirty feet from the ground. The 
specimen we have described, was shot from the extreme branches of an 
oak, in the dusk of the evening, where it was busily engaged among the 
acorns. It is a rare species in Carolina, but appears to be more common 
in Georgia, as we received from Major Le Conte, three specimens obtain- 
ed in the latter State. 


We found this species in Carolina, where it is rather rare ; we also ob- 
tained specimens from Georgia ; we have no doubt but further investiga- 
tion will give it a more extensive geographical range. 


We have arranged this species under the sub-genus of Mr. Waterhouse, 
proposed in the Zoological Society of London, Feb. 17th, 1837, (see their 
transactions.) It is thus characterized ; " Sub-genus Calomys, (from Ka^a 
beautiful and mus.) Fur, moderate, soft ; tarsus almost entirely clothed 
beneath the hair. Front molar, with three indentations of enamel on the 
inner side, and two on the outer ; and the last molar with one on each 
side. The type mus (calomys,) bimaculatus. Two other species have 
been described, from South America; mus (calomys) elegans, and 
m. frnrilives 


F E L I S CONCOLO R.— Linn. 

The Cocoas. — Panther. 

PLATE XCVI — M w.k :— P LATE X C V I I .—Female and tocng. 

F. immaculata lulva; auriculis nigricanhbus, cauda elongata, apice 
ni^ra neque floccosa. 


Uniformly tpwny-yellow ; cars, blackish behind; tail, elongated, apex 
black, without a tuft. 


Feus Concolor, Linn. Syat Nit., ed. Omd., 1. p. 79. 
« Schreb Saugthu, p. 894 

Buflbn, Hist Nat, t. 9 
" " Gonazouara, D'Acara Anim. du Paraguay. 

" " Desmarest in Nout. Diet, p. 90,2. 

Puma, Leo Aniovii \inus. Hernandez, 
p. Concolor, Cuv. Regno Animal, voL 1. p. 161 
Brown Tiger, Pennant's Syn. p. 179. 
Black Tiger, " ISO. 

F. Concolor, Harlan, Fauna Am., p. 94. 
Godman,vol. l. p. 891. 
Dekay's Nat Hist. X. Y., p. 47. 


Body, long and slender ; head, small ; neck, long ; ears, rounded ; legs, 
short and stout ; tail, long, slender and cylindrical, sometimes trailing ; fur, 
soft and short. 


Body and legs, of a uniform fulvous or tawny colour : under surface, 
reddish-white ; around the eyes, grayish-yellow ; hairs within the ears, 
yellowish-white : exterior of the ears, blackish : lips, at the moustache, 
black : throat, whitish : tail of the male, longer than that of the female, 
brown at tip, not tufted. 
vol. in. — 19. 















306 COUGAR. 

We have seen several specimens differing from the above in various 
shades of colour. These accidental variations, however, are not sufficient 
to warrant us in regarding these individuals as distinct species. 

The young are beautifully spotted and barred with blackish-brown, and 
their hair is soft and downy. 


Male, shot by J. W. Audubon, at Castroville, Texas 28th January, 1846. 

Feet. Inches 

From point of nose to root of tail 
Tail .---.-.. 
Height of ear posteriorly - 
Length of canine teeth, from gums 
Female, killed 26th January, 1846. 

Length of head and body - 

" Tail 

" Height of ear .... 

" of canine teeth .... 

Weight, 149 lbs. 

The Cougar is known all over the United States by the name of the 
panther or painter, and is another example of that ignorance or want 
of imagination, which was manifested by the " Colonists," who named 
nearly every quadruped, bird, and fish, which they found on our continent, 
after species belonging to the Old World, without regard to more than a 
most slight resemblance, and generally with a total disregard of propriety. 
This character of the " Colonists," is, we are sorry to say, kept up to a 
great extent by their descendants, to the present day, who in designating 
towns and villages throughout the land, have seized upon the names of 
Rome, Carthage, Palmyra, Cairo, Athens, Sparta, Troy, Babylon, Jericho, 
and many other ancient cities, as well as those of Boston, Portsmouth, 
Plymouth, Bristol, Paris, Manchester, Berlin, Geneva, Portland, &c, &c, 
from which probably some of the founders of our country towns may have 
emigrated. We sincerely hope this system of nomenclature will hence- 
forth be discarded ; and now let us go back to the Cougar, which is but lit- 
tle more like the true panther than an opossum is like the kangaroo ! 
Before, however, entirely quitting this subject, we may mention that for a 
long time the Cougar was thought to be the lion ; the supposition was 
that all the skins of the animal that were brought into the settlements 
by the Indians were skins of females ; and the lioness, having something 

COUGAR. 307 

the same colour and but little mane, it occurred to the colonists that the 
skins they saw could belong to no other animal ' 

The Cougar is found sparsely distributed over the whole of North 
America up to about latitude 45°. In former times this animal was more 
abundant than at present, and one was even seen a few miles from the city 
of New- York within tin' recollection of Da. DlEKAT, who speaks of the 
consternation occasioned by its appearance in Westchester County, when 
he was a boy. 

The Cougar is generally found in the very wildest parts of the country, 
in drip wooded swamps, or among the mountain cliffs and chasms ol 
Alleghany range. In Florida be inhabits the miry swamps and the water) 
everglades; in Texas, he is sometimes found on t ho open prairies, and 
his tracks maybe seen at almost every cattle-crossing place on the slug- 
gish bayOUS and creeks with their quick-sands and treacherous hanks. 
\t such places the Cougar sometimes tiuds an unfortunate calf, or perhaps 
a cow or bullock, that has become fast in the oozy, boggy earth, and 
from exhaustion has given up its stragglings, and been drowned or suffocat- 
ed in the mire. 

This species at times attacks young cattle, and the male from which 

our drawing was made, was shot in the act of feeding ilium a black hi 
which he had seized, killed, and dragged into the edge of B thicket close 
adjoining the spot. The Cougar, is however, generally compelled to sub- 
sist on small animals, young deer, skunks, ra tons, &c, or birds, and will 

even cat carrion when hard pressed by hunger. His courage is not areat, 
and unless very hungry, or when wounded and at bay, he seldom attacks 

.1. W. Audubon was informed, when in Texas, that the Cougar would 
remain in the vicinity oC the carcase of a dead horse or cow. retiring after 
gorging himself, to a patch of tall grasses, or brambles, close by, so as to 
keep off intruders, and from which lair he could return when his appetite 
again called him to his dainty food. In other cases he returns, after catch- 
ing a pis? or calf, or finding a dead animal large enough to satisfy his hun- 
gry stomach, to his accustomed haunts, frequently to the very place where 
he was whelped and suckled. 

Dr. Df.kav mentions, that he was told of a Cougar in Warren County, 
in the State of Xew-York, that resorted to a barn, from whence he was 
repeatedly dislodged, and finally killed. "He shewed no fight whatever, 
ITis mouth was found to be tilled with the spines of the Canada porcupine, 
which was probably the cause of his diminished wariness and ferocity, 
and would in all probability have finally caused his death." 

The panther, or " painter,*' as the Cougar is called, is a nocturnal ani- 


mal more by choice than necessity, as it can see well during the day time. 
It steals upon its intended prey in the darkness of night, with a silent, 
cautious step, and with great patience makes its noiseless way through 
the tangled thickets of the deepest forest. When the benighted traveller, 
or the wearied hunter may be slumbering in his rudely and hastily con- 
structed bivouac at the foot of a huge tree, amid the lonely forest, his fire 
nearly out, and all around most dismal, dreary, and obscure, he may per- 
chance be roused to a state of terror by the stealthy tread of the prowling 
Cougar ; or his frightened horse, by its snortings and struggles to get loose, 
will awaken him in time to see the glistening eyes of the dangerous beast 
glaring upon him like two burning coals. Lucky is he then, if his cool- 
ness does not desert him, if his "trusty rifle does not miss, through his agi- 
tation, or snap for want of better flint ; or well off is he, if he can frighten 
away the savage beast by hurling at him a blazing brand from his nearly 
extinguished camp-fire. For, be sure the animal has not approached him 
without the gnawing hunger — the desire for blood, engendered by long 
fasting and gaunt famine. Some very rare but not well authenticated in- 
stances have been recorded in our public prints, where the Cougar at such 
times has sprang upon the sleeper. At other times the horses are thrown 
into such a fright, that they break all fastenings and fly in every direction. 
The late Mr. Robert Best of Cincinnati, wrote to Dr. Godman, that one of 
these animals had surprised a party of travellers, sprung upon the horses, 
and so lacerated with its claws and teeth their flanks and buttocks, that 
they with the greatest difficulty succeeded in driving the poor creatures 
before them next morning, to a public house some miles off*. This party, 
however, had no fire, and were unarmed. 

A planter on the Yazoo river, some, years ago, related the following anec- 
dote of the Cougar to us. As he was riding home alone one night, through 
the woods, along what is called a " bridle-path" (i. e. a horse-track), one 
of these animals sprang at him from a fallen log, but owing to his horse 
making a sudden plunge forward, only struck the rump of the gallant 
steed with one paw, and could not maintain his hold. The gentleman 
was for a moment unable to account for the furious start his horse had 
made, but presently turning his head saw the Cougar behind, and putting 
spurs to his horse, galloped away. On examining the horse, wounds 
were observed on his rump corresponding with the claws of the Cougar's 
paw. and from their distance apart, the foot must have been spread widely 
when he struck the animal. 

Another respectable gentleman of the State of Mississippi gave us the 
following account. A friend of his, a cotton planter, one evening, while 
at tea. was startled by a tremendous outcry among his dogs, and ran out 


to quiet them, thinking some person, perhaps a neighbour, had called to 
see him. The dosrs could not he driven back, hut rushed into the honse ; 
he seized his horsewhip, which hung inside the hall door, ami whipped 
them all out, as lie thought, cxcepl one, which ran under the table, lie 
then took a candle and looking down, to his surprise and alarm discover- 
ed the supposed refractory dog u> he a Cougar. He retreated instanter, 
the females and children of his family fled frightened half oat oftheir 
senses. The Cougar sprang at him, lie parried the blow- with the candle- 
stick, but the animal dew at him again, leaping forward perpendicularly, 
striking at his face with the fore-feet, and at his body with the hind-feet 
These attacks he repelled by dealing the Cougar straight-forward blows 
on its belly with his Bst, lightly turning aside and evading its claws, a* he 
best could. The Cougar had nearly overpowered him, when luckily he 
hacked toward the lire-place, and as the animal sprain: again at him, dodg- 
ed him. and the pan! her almost tell into the lire: at which he Was so terri- 
fied that he endeavoured to escape, and darting out of the door was im- 
mediately attacked again by the dogs, and with their help and a i 
was killed. 

Two raftsmen on the Yazoo river, one night encamped on the hank, 
under a small tent they carried with them, just larirc enough to cover 

two. The] had a merry supper, and having made a large fire, retired, 

"turned in" and were soon last asleep. The night waned, and bv degrees 
a drizzling rain succeeded by a heavy shower pattering on the leaves and 
on their canvas roof, which sheltered them from its fury, hall' awakened 
one of them, when on a sudden the savage grow] of a Cougar was heard, 
and in an instant the animal pounced upon the tent and overthrew it. 
Our raftsmen did not feel the lull force of the blow, as the slight poles of 
the tent gave way. and the impetus of the spring carried the Panther over 
them : they started up anil Scuffled out of the tent without further notice 
" to quit," and by the dim light of their fire, which the rain had nearly ex- 
tinguished, saw tin 1 animal facing them and ready for another leap: they 
hastily seized two of the burning sticks, and whirling them around their 
heads with loud whoops, scared away the midnight prowler. After this 
adventure they did not. however, try to sleep under their tent any more 
thai night ! 

We have given these relations of others to show that at lon<r intervals, 
and under peculiar circumstances, when perhaps pinched with hunger, or 
in defence of its young, the Cougar sometimes attacks men. These in- 
stances, however, are very rare, and the relations of an affrightened 
traveller must be received with some caution, making a due allowance 
tor a natural disposition in man to indulge in the marvellous. 

310 COUGAR. 

Our own experience in regard to the habits of this species is somewhat 
limited, but we are obliged to state that in the only three instances in 
which we observed it in its native forests, an impression was left on our 
minds that it was the most cowardl}' of any species of its size belonging 
to this genus. In our boyhood, whilst residing in the northern part of 
New-York, forty-eight years ago, on our way to school through a wood, a 
Cougar crossed the path not ten yards in front of us. We had never 
before seen this species, and it was, even at that early period, exceedingly 
rare in that vicinity. When the Cougar observed us he commenced a 
hurried retreat ; a small terrier that accompanied us gave chase to the 
animal, which, after running about a hundred yards, mounted an oak and 
rested on one of its limbs about twenty feet from the ground. We ap- 
proached and raised a loud whoop, when he sprang to the earth and soon 
made his escape. He was, a few days afterwards, hunted by the neigh- 
bours and shot. Another was treed at night, by a party on a raccoon 
hunt ; supposing it to be a raccoon, one of the men climbed the tree, 
when the Cougar leaped to the ground, overturning one of the young 
hunters that happened to be in his way, and made his escape. A third 
was chased by cur-dogs in a valley in the vicinity of the Catskill moun- 
tains, and after half an hour's chase ascended a beech-tree. He placed 
himself in a crotch, and was fired at with duck-shot about a dozen times, 
when he was finally killed, and fell heavily to the ground. A Mr. Ran- 
dolph, of Virginia, related to us an amusing anecdote of a rencontre 
which he and a Kentuckian had in a valley of one of the Virginia moun- 
tains with a Cougar. This occurrence took place about thirty years ago. 
They had no guns, but meeting him near the road, they gave chase with 
their horses, and after a run of a few hundred yards he ascended a tree. 
Randolph climbed the tree, and the Cougar sprang down, avoiding the 
Kentuckian, who stood ready to attack him with his club. The latter 
again followed, on his horse, when he treed him a second time. Randolph 
again climbed after him, but found the animal was coming down, and 
disposed to fight his way to the ground. He stunned him with a blow, 
when the Cougar let go his hold, fell to the earth, and was killed by his 
comrade, who was waiting with his club below. 

From all the conversations we have had with hunters who were in the 
habit of killing the Cougar, we have been brought to the conviction that 
a man of moderate courage, with a good rifle and a steady arm, accom- 
panied by three or four active dogs, a mixture of either the fox-hound or 
grey-hound, might hunt the Cougar with great safety to himself, and with 
a tolerable prospect of success. 

This animal, which has excited so much terror in the minds of the igno- 

COUGAR. 311 

rant and timid, has been nearly exterminated in all our Atlantic States, 
and we do not recollect a single well authenticated instance where any 
hunter's life fell a sacrifice in a Cougar hunt. 

Anions; the mountains of the head-waters of the Juniatta river, as we 
were informed, the Cougar is so abundant, that one man has killed for 
some years, from two to live, and one very hard winter, he killed seven. 
In this part of the country the Cougar is hunted with half-bred hounds, 
the full-blooded dogs lacking courage to attack so large and fierce look- 
ing an animal when they overtake it. The hunt is conducted much in 
the manner of B chase after the common wild-cat. The Cougar is 
" treed " after running about fifteen or twenty minutes, and generally 
shot, but sometimes il shews fighl before it takes to a tree, and the hunters 
consider it great sporl : we heard of an instance of one of these fights, in 
which the Cougar got hold of a dog, and was killing it. when the hunter 
in his anxiety to save his do;:, rushed upon the Cougar, seized him by the 
tail and broke bis back with a. single blow of an axe. 

According to the relations of old hunters, the Cougar has three or four 
young at a litter. We have heard of an instance of one being found, a 
very old female, in whose den there were live young, about as large as cats, 
we believe, however, that the usual number of young, is two. 

The. dens of (his species are generally near the mouth of some cave in 
the rocks, where the animal's lair is just far enough inside to he out of 
the rain: and not in this respect like the dens of the bear, which are some- 
times ten or twelve yards from the of a larj or lissure in 
the rocks. In the Southern States, where there are no caves or rocks, the 
lair of the Cougar is generally in a very dense thicket, or in a cane-brake. 
It is a rude sort of bed of Sticks, weeds, leaves, and grasses or mosses, 
and where the canes arch over it ; as they are evergreen, their long point- 
ed leaves turn the rain at all seasons of tin- year. We have never ob- 
served any bones or fragments of animals they had fed upon, at the lairs 
of the Cougar, and suppose they always feed on what they catch inn 
spot where they capture the prey. 

The tales related of the cry of the Cougar in the forest in imitation of 
the call of a lost traveller, or the cry of a child, must be received with 
much caution, and may in many of their exaggerations be set down as 
vulgar errors. In a state of captivity, we have never heard the male ut- 
tering any other note than a low growl ; the female, however, we have 
frequently heard uttering a kind of mewing like that of a cat, but a more 
prolonged and louder note, that could be heard at the distance of about 
two hundred yards. All the males, however, of the cat kind, at the sea- 
son when the sexes seek each other, emit remarkable and startling cries. 


as is evidenced by the common cat, in what is denominated caterwaul- 
ing. We have observed the same habit in the leopard, the ocelot, and in 
our two species of iynx. It is not impossible, therefore, that the male 
Cougar, may at the rutting season have some peculiar and startling notes. 
The cries, however, to which persons have from time to time directed our 
attention, as belonging to the Cougar, we were well convinced were ut- 
tered by other animals. In one instance, we ascertained them to proceed 
from a red fox which was killed in the hunt, got up for the purpose of kill- 
ing the Cougar. In other cases the screams of the great horned, the bar- 
red, or the screech owl are mistaken for the cries of this animal. 

The female Cougar is a most affectionate mother, and will not leave 
her young cubs, unless occasionally to procure food to support her own 
strength ; she therefore often becomes very lean and poor. The female 
we have figured, was in this condition ; we procured one of her cubs and 
figured it, presenting its beautiful spots, seldom before noticed. The other 
made its escape. 

The whelps are suckled by the dam until about half grown, and then 
hunt with the old ones (which generally go in pairs) until the mother is 
with young again, or the young ones find mates for themselves, and begin 
to breed. 

The period of gestation of the Cougar is ninety -seven days, as has been 
ascertained at the Zoological Society of London, (Proceedings, 1832, 
p. 62.) In the Northern and Middle States, the young are produced in the 
spring. In the Southern States, however, where the animal is supplied 
with an abundance of food, and not much incommoded by the cold, the 
the young have in some instances been discovered in autumn. J. W. 
Audubon found, in Texas, young Cougars nearly half grown in February. 


This species has a wide geographical range. It was formerly found in 
all the Northern and Eastern States, and we have seen a specimen pro- 
cured in Upper Canada. The climates of Lower Canada, New Found- 
land, and Labrador, appear to be too cold for its permanent residence. 
In all the Atlantic States it was formerly found, and a few still exist in 
the less cultivated portions. It is occasionally shot in the extensive 
swamps, along the river courses of Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, and 
Louisiana ; it is found sparingly on the whole range of the Alleghanies, 
running through a considerable portion of the United States. It has cross- 
ed the Rocky Mountains, and exists on the Pacific, in Oregon and Cali- 
fornia ; it is quite abundant in Florida and Texas ; is found within the 

COUGAR. 3 13 

tropics in Mexico, and Yucatan, and has penetrated through Panama in- 
to Guyana and South America, where it is sometimes called the Puma. 


The variations of size, to which this species is subject, have created 
much confusion among our books of Natural History, and added a con- 
siderable number of supposed new species. After having examined very 
care ully very many specimens, both in a prepared state, and alive 
in menageries, procured in most parts of North and South America, we 
have arrived al the conclusion that the Cougar of North America and 
the Puma of our Southern Continent are one and the same species, and 
cannot even be regarded as varicti 

vol. in. — 40 


GENUS BASSARIS.— Lichtenstein. 

t ■ • 6 - ^ • '- 1 air'i 6_6 

Incisive -' Lanine — ; Molar, — = 40. 

6 1—1 ' 6—6 

Body, long and rather slender; head, round ; snout, attenuated like that 
of a fox ; eyes, rather large *. eyelids, oblong, lateral ; ears, conspicuous, of 
moderate size, their points rounded. 

There are five toes on each foot ; tail, nearly the length of the body. 

Hairs on the body, short and dense, much longer on the tail. 

The specific name is derived from the Greek, b«p«^«, {bassaris), a little 

This is the only species in the genus. 


Ring-tailed Bassaris. 


B. Supra gilvus nigro-variegatus, auriculis, macula supra oculari et 
ventre flavido-albis ; cauda, annulis octo albis nigrisque alternantibus, 


Dull yellow, mixed with black, above ; a spot above the eye, ears, and 
under surface, yellowish'white ; tail, eight times ringed with black and 


Cacamitztli, Hernandez. 
Tepe-Maxtlaton, Hernandez. 

Bassaris Astuta, Lichtenstein, Darstellung neuer, oder wenig bekannter Sau- 
gethiere, Tafel 43, Berlin, 1627-1834. 


The first impression made by this animal on the observer is, that he 
has met with a little fox ; its erect ears, sharp nose, and cunning look, are 


I ale X' 

. , - . 


all fox-like. It however, by its long and moveable muzzle approaches 
the civets, {viverra,) the genets, (gcnnetta,) and the coat is (ictidrs.) 

The head is small ; skull, not much flattened ; nose, long ; muzzle, point- 
ed, naked ; moustaches, numerous, long and rigid ; ears, long, erect, ovate, 
clothed with short hair on the outer surface : sparingly within; neck and 
body, long ; legs, longer than those of the martens, but shorter than those 
of the fox ; nails, sharp and much hooked ; toes, covered with hairs con- 
cealing them; palms, naked; tail, with long coarse hairs, containing 
scarcely any under fur: the inner hair on the back, is of moderate line- 
ness, interspersed with rather coarser and longer hairs. The longer hairs 
on the back are about an inch in length, those on the tail, two inches, and 
the under-fur, on the back, half an inch. 


The hair on the back is grayish, for three-fourths of its length from the 
roots, then pale yellowish-white, then yellowish-brown, deepening into 
black at the tips ; the under-far is tirst plumbeous, then yellowish-white ; 
this disposition of colours jrivcs it a brindled brownish-black appearance 
on the head and upper surface. Moustaches, black ; point of nose, dark 
brown. There is a light grayish spot above the eye : ears, chin, throat, 
neck and belly, yellowish-white. The tail is regularly and conspicuously 
ringed witli bars of white and black, alternately : the upper white one 
very indistinct ; the next black-obscure and increasing in more conspicu- 
ous bands of white and black to the end, which is broadly tipped with 
black ; on the upper surface of tail, the black colours predominate, and on 
the under surface, the white. 


Feet. Inche*. 

From point of nose to root of tail, 1 6 

Tail, (vertebra;), 1 2 

" to end of hair, 1 4 

From point of nose to head, between the ears, - 3£ 

Height of ear, posteriorly', If 

Breadth of ear at base, ..... i 

From shoulder to end of toes, .... 6 

Length of longest moustache, 8) 



The greater portion of Texas is prairie-land, and it is chiefly along the 
water courses, that trees are found growing together in numbers sufficient 
to constitute a " wood." On certain level and clayey portions of the 
prairie, however, the land is swampy, and is covered with several kinds 
of oaks and a few other trees. The well-known musquit tree or bush is 
found generally distributed in the western parts of the State. It re- 
sembles the acacia in leaf, and has a small white pea-shaped blossom ; 
at a distance it looks something like an old peach tree. Its wood is simi- 
lar to coarse mahogany in appearance, and burns well, in fact beauti- 
fully, as the coals keep in for a long time ; and the wood gives out little 
or no smoke. The musquit bottoms are furnished with these trees, they 
are small, about the size of the alder, and grow much in the same way ; 
the musquit has sharp thorns. The musquit grass, (Holcus lanatus), re- 
sembles what is called, guinea grass, it is broader, shorter, softer, and 
more curly. 

The general features of the State of Texas, as it will be seen by the 
foregoing, do not indicate a country where many tree-climbing animals 
could be found, and the present beautiful species, which Professor Lich- 
tenstein most appropriatelynamed Bassaris astuta, is by no means common. 
It is a lively, playful, and nimble creature, leaps about on the trees, and 
has very much the same actions as the squirrel, which it resembles in agility 
and grace, always having a hole in the tree upon which it resides, and 
betaking itself to that secure retreat at once if alarmed. 

The Bassaris Astuta is shy and retired in its habits, and in the daytime 
often stays in its hole in some tree, so that we were only able to procure 
about half a-dozen of these animals during our stay in Texas ; among 
which, to our regret, there was not a single, female. 

The food of this species is chiefly small animals, birds, and insects ; 
they also eat nuts, as we were told, descending from their hiding place 
and travelling to the pecan and other trees, for the purpose of feeding on 
the nuts which, if true, is singular, as they are decidedly carnivorous in 
their dentition. 

They are much attached to the tree on which they live, which is gene- 
rally a post-oak, a live-oak, or other large tree, and they seldom quit the 
immediate vicinity of their hole, unless when driven out by thrusting a 
stick at them, when they ascend the trunk of the tree, and jump about 
among the higher branches so long as the pole is held close to their nest ; 
as soon as this is withdrawn, they descend and at once re-enter their dwell- 
ing-place and hide themselves. These animals have a singular habit of 


eating or gnawing off the bark around the mouth of their holes, and 
where ihe bark does not. appear freshly peeled off at their hole, you may 
he certain the animal is not at home, or has deserted the place. 
Their holes are generally the result of natural decay, and are situated on 
knobs, or at the ends of branches broken short off close t<> the main trunk. 
They generally select a hole of this kind on the lower side of a leaning 
tree, probably for better protection from the rain : their holes vary in depth, 
but are seldom more than about a foot or eighteen inches to the bottom; 
they are usually furnished with moss or grass, for bedding. Sometimes 
pecan shells are found in these holes, which no doubt affords presumptive 
evidence thai the Hassans feeds upon this nut- 
When scolding or barking at an intruder, the ring-tailed Raccoon, (as 
this animal is called by the Texans), holds the tail over its hack, bending 
ii squirrel fashion : this animal, however, does not stand upon his hind 
feel like a squirrel, and cannot jump or leap so far. We have not heard 
of their springing from one branch to another beyond the distance of about 
ten feet, and when fright (lied at the presence of a man, they will some- 
times run along a branch e\ en toward him. in order to gel within jumping 
distance of another, evincing more timidity than a squirrel exhibits in 
springing among the boughs, although they run up the hark with ease, 
holding on with their claws. 

Sometimes the Ring-tailed Bassaris may he seen squatted on the top of a 
branch, basking in the sun, and halt' rolled up. appearing almost asleep. 
On the slightest manifestation of danger, however, he darts into his hole, 
(which is always within a foot or t\\" of his basking place), and lie is seen 
no more. We have the impression that only one of these singular ani- 
mals is to he found on a tree at a time— they, therefore, are not very social 
in their habits, and. as the live-oak and other trees are generally very 
much scattered, and many of them have no holes suitable for residences 
for the Bassaris, it is very difficult to procure one. At the foot of many 
of the trees whereon they dwell, the cactus, brush-wood, and chapperal 
generally are so thick and tangled, that n man would he pretty well 
scratched should he attempt to penetrate the thorny, prickly thicket which 
surrounds the dwelling-place of this solitary and singular animal. 

Notwithstanding the shyness and retired habits of this species, it is 
easily tamed, and when it has been confined itv a cage a sufficient length 
of time, is frequently let loose in the houses of the Mexicans, where it 
answers the purpose of a playful pet, and catches mice and rats. We 
have seen one thai was thus domesticated, running about the streets of a 
little Mexican village, and we were informed that oik was kepi as a great 
pet in a Camanche camp, visited by the Indian who hunted for us during 


our explorations of the western part of Texas. As far as we could ascer- 
tain, the northern limit of the range of this species is somewhere in the 
neighbourhood of the southern branches of Red river. As you travel 
south they are more abundant, and probably are found throughout all 
Mexico ; we were informed by our friend, the celebrated Col. Hays, the 
Ranger, that he saw them more abundant in the mountainous region near 
the head-waters of the San Saba river than at any other place. 

The Bassaris produces three or four young at a birth, as has been as- 
certained from the animal kept in confinement. 


This animal exists in Mexico, and is common in the immediate vicinity 
of the capital of that name ; our specimens were obtained in Texas, which 
appears to be its northern limit. 


This species is called by the Mexicans caco-mixtle. It is mentioned 
no less than four times by Hernandez under the names of Cacamiztli and 
Tepe-Maxtlaton. The first specimens were sent to Berlin in 1826, by Mr. 
Deppe, and the earliest scientific description was given by Lichtenstein, 
who named it as above. 






Prairie Marmot-Squirrel. — WraoTONWiHH. — Prairie Doq. 

PLATE XCIX.-l. Male. 2. Female. 8. Yonto. 

S. super cervinus pilis nigris interspersis : subtus sordide albus, ungue 
pollicari conico majusculu. cauda brevi apicem versus fusco torquatS. 


Back, reddish brown, mixed with gre§ und black ; belly, soiled white ,- tail, 
short, banded with brown near the tip ; thumb-nail, rather large, and conical. 


Prairie Doo. Lewis and Clark's E\p.. 1st vol.", p. 67. 

Wishtoswish, Pike's Expedition, &&, p. HHJ. 

Arotomts Ludoviciahi 3, « 'rd. in Guthrie, Geog., 2d, 302, 1815. 

Arctomts Missouribnsis, Warden, Desor.des Etats Unis, vol. 5., p. 567. 

Arctomy* i\i s, Say, Long's Exped., 1st vol., p. 451. 

Arct. L.US0YICIAHU8, Harlan, p. 1(50. 

" " Godnian, vol. 2, p. 114. 


This animal in its external form has more tne appearance of a mar- 
mot, than of a spermophile. It is short, thick, and clumsy, and is not 
possessed of the light, squirrel-like shape, which characterizes the spcrmo- 
phili. In its small cheek-pouches, however, being three-fourths of an 
inch ia depth, and in the structure of its approaches nearer the 
spermophili, and we have; accordingly arranged it under that genus. 

The head is broad and depressed : nose short and blunt, hairy to the 
nostrils. Incisors, large, protruding beyond the lips; eyes, large; ears, 
placed far backwards, short, and oblong, being a mere flap nearly 
covered by the short fur : neck, short and thick ; legs, short and stout. 
This species is pendaetylous ; the rudimental thumb on the fore-feet pro- 
d by a sharp, conical nail ; nails, of medium size, scarcely channelled 
beneath, nearly straight, and sharp, extending beyond the hair ; tail, short 



and bushy ; hair on the body, rather coarse ; under-fur, of moderate fine- 
ness. The female has ten mamma? arranged along the sides of the belly. 


The hair on the back is, from the roots, for one-third of its length, bluish- 
black, then soiled-white — then light-brown ; some of the hairs having 
yellowish-white, and others black, tips. The hairs on the under-surface, 
are at the roots bluish, and for nearly their whole length yellowish-white, 
giving the sides of face, cheeks, chin, and throat, legs, belly, and under- 
surface of tail a yellowish- white colour. Teeth, white ; moustaches and 
eyes, black ; nails, brown. The tail partakes of the colour of the back for 
three-fourths of its length, but is tipped with black, extending one inch 
from the end. 




Nose to root of tail, - 

13 inches 

12f inches, 

" to end of tail, - 

163 do 

15# do 

Tail, vertebra, .... 

2S do 

2* do 

" to end of hair, - 

31 do 

Nose to anterior canthus, 

li do 

H do 

Height of ear, .... 

T 7 e do 

T<r do 

Width between eyes, ... 

\h do 

Irfr do 

Length of fore-hand, ... 

1* do 

H do 

" of heel and hind-foot 

2i do 

2 do 

Depth of pouch, - - - - 

« do 

Diameter of ditto, • 

I do 

Feet slightly webbed at base. 


The general impression of those persons who have never seen the 
"Prairie Dog" called by the French Canadians " petit chien," would be 
far from correct in respect to this little animal, should they incline to con- 
sider it as a small " dog." It was probably only owing to the sort of yelp, 
chip, chip, chip, uttered by these marmots, that they were called Prairie 
Bogs, for they do not resemble the genus Canis much more than does a 
common gray squirrel ! 

This noisy spermophile, or marmot, is found in numbers, sometimes 
hundreds of families together, living in burrows on the prairies ; and their 
galleries are so extensive as to render riding among them quite unsafe in 


many places. Their habitations :ire generally called "dog-towns," or 
villages, by the Indians and trappers, and are described a* being inter- 
sected by streets (pathways) for their accommodation, and a degree of 
neatness and cleanliness is preserved. These villages, or communities, 
are, however, sometimes infested with rattle-snakes and other reptiles, 
which feed upon the marmots. Theburrowing owl, (Surniacunicularia,) 
is also found among them, and probably devours 8 greal number of the 
defenceless animals. 

The first of these \ ilhitres observed by our party, when we were as- 
cending the .Missouri river in 1M:1, was near the "Greal bend" of that 
stream. The mounds were verv low, the holes mostly open, and but few 
of the animals to be seen. 

Our friend Edward Harris. Mr. Bell and M -hot at them, but 

we could not procure any. and were obliged to proceed, being somewhat 
anxious to pitch our camp for the night, before dark. Near Fort & 
(a little farther up the river.) we again found a village of these marmots, 
and saw great numbers of them. They do not bark, but utter a chip, 
chip, chip, loud and shrill enough, and at each cry jerk their tail, not 
erecting it, however, to a perpendicular. 

Their holes are not straight down, but incline downwards, at an angle 
of about forty degrees for a little distance and then diverge sideways or 
upwards. We shot at two of these marmots which were not standing 
across their holes apparently, but in front of them, the first one we 
never saw after the shot : the second we found dying at the entrance of 
the burrow, but at our approach it worked itself backward — we drew 
our ramrod and put the screw in its mouth, it bit sharply at this, but not- 
withstanding our screwing, it kept working backward, .and was soon out 
of sight and beyond the reach of our ramrod. 

Mr. Bell saw two enter the same hole, and Mr. Harris observed three. 
Occasionally these marmots stood uite erect, and watched our move- 
ments, and then leaped into the air, all the time keeping an eye on us. 
We found that by lying down within twenty or thirty steps of their holes, 
and remaining silent, the animals re-appeared in fifteen or twenty minutes. 

Now- and then one of them, after coming out of its hole, issued a long 

and somewhat whistling note, perhaps a call, or invitation to his neigh- 
bours, as several came out in a few moments. The cries of this spi 
are probably uttered for their amusement, or as a means of recognition, 
and not, especially, at. the appearance of danger. They are, as we think, 
more in the habit of feeding by night than in the day time ; their drop- 
pings are scattered plentifully in the neighbourhood of their villages. 
A few days after this visit to the Prairie Dogs, one of our hunters, who 

VOL. III. il 


had been out a great part of the night, brought in three of them, but they 
had been killed with very coarse shot, and were so badly cut and torn by 
the charge, that they were of little use to us. We ascertained that these 
marmots are abundant in this part of the country, their villages being 
found in almost every direction. 

From the number of teats in the female, the species is no doubt very 

On our return down the river, we killed two Prairie Dogs on the 23d 
of August, their notes resembled the noise made by the Arkansas flycatch- 
er precisely. 

We have received an interesting letter from Col. Abert of the Topo- 
graphical bureau at Washington City, giving us an account of the quadru- 
peds and birds observed by Lieut. Abert, on an exploratory journey in tlic 
south-west, in New Mexico, &c. Lieut. Abert observed the Prairie Dogs 
in that region of country, in the middle of winter ; he says '' our Prairie 
Dog (a marmot) does not hibernate, but is out all winter, as lively and as 
pert as on any summer day." 

This is not in accordance with the accounts of authors, who have it that 
this animal does hibernate. We find it stated that it "closes accurately the 
mouth of the burrow, and constructs at the bottom of it a neat globular 
cell of fine dry grass, having an aperture at top sufficiently large to 
admit a finger, and so compactly put together that it might almost be roll- 
ed along the ground uninjured." We feel greatly obliged to Lieut. Abert, 
for the information he gives us, which either explodes a long received error, 
or acquaints us with a fact of some importance in natural history — that 
changes of climate will produce so great an effect as to abrogate a provi- 
sion of nature, bestowed upon some animals, to enable them to exist during 
the rigorous winters of the north ; so that, by migrating to a warmer region, 
species that would, in high latitudes be compelled to sleep out half their 
lives, could enjoy the air and light, and luxuriate in the sense of "being 
alive" all the circling year ! We have not been able to gather any in- 
formation in relation to this subject since receiving the above-mentioned 
letter, but in our article on Arctomys monux, (vol. i., p. 20) some curious facts 
were related in respect to the effect of artificial heat, applied from time to 
time to that animal, when in a torpid state, which produced each time a 
temporary animation ; thus shewing that a certain absence of caloric 
causes hibernation immediately, while its presence arouses the powers of 
life in a few minutes. The special construction of hibernating animals is 
not (as far as we have ascertained) yet explained by the researches of com- 
parative anatomy. 

Lewis and Clark give a very good description of the Prairie Dog, at 


page 07, vol. 1. They poured five barrels of water into one of their holes 
without filling it, hut dislodged and caught theowner. They further say that 
after digging down another of the holes for six feet, they found on running 
a pole into it that they had not yet dug half-way to the bottom : they dis- 
covered two frogs in the hole, and mar it killed a dark rattlesnake, 
which had swallowed one of the Prairie Dogs. 

Our friend Dr., now Sir John RlCBA&DSON, (in the Fauna Boreali Ameri- 
cana.") has well elucidated the notices of this and other species described in 
Lewis and Clark's " Expedition," but, appears not to be certain whether this 
animal lias cheek-pouches or not. and is puzzled apparently by the following: 
"the jaw is furnished with a pouch to contain his food, but not so large as 
that of the common squirrel." The Dr. in a note say — "It is not i 
to divine what the " common squirrel is which has ample eheek-poucl 
We presume that this passage can be made plain by inserting the word 
ground so thai ■ common grounrf-squirrel" be the reading. The '"com- 
mon ground-squirn I" was doubtless well known to Lewis and Cl \r.K. and 
has ample cheek-pouches (see our account of Tamua Lysterii, vol. 1, p. 65.) 
This explanation would not be volunteered by us but tor our respect for 
the knowledge and accuracy of Lewis And Clark, both of whom we had 
the pleasure of personally knowing many years ago. 

For an amusing account of a large village of these marmots, we extract 
the following from Kendall's Narrative of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition, 
vol. I, p. 1S9. " We had proceeded but a short distance, after reaching 
ibis beautiful prairie, before we came upon the outskirts of the common- 
wealth, a few scattering dogs were seen scampering in. their short, sharp 
yelps giving a general alarm to the whole community. The first brief cry 
of danger from the outskirts was soon taken up in the centre of the 
city, and now nothing was to be heard or seen in any direction but a 
barking, dashing, and scampering of the mercurial and excitable denizens 
of the place, each to his burrow. 

Par as the eye could reach the city extended, and all over it the scene 
was the same. We rode leisurely along until we had reached the more 
thickly settled portion of the place. Here we halted, and after taking 
tin 1 bridles from our horses to allow them to graze, we prepared for a 
regular attack upon the inhabitants. The burrows were not more than 
ten or fifteen yards apart, with well trodden paths leading in different 
directions, and 1 even fancied I could discover something like regularity 
in the laying out of the streets. 

We sat down upon a bank under the shade of a musquit, and leisurely 
surveyed the scene before us. Our approach had driven every one to his 
home in our immediate vicinity, but at the distance of some hundred yards 


the small mound of earth in front of each burrow was occupied by a Dog, 
sitting erect on his hinder legs, and coolly looking about for the cause of 
the recent commotion. Every now and then some citizen, more adven- 
turous than his neighbour, would leave his lodgings on a flying visit to a 
friend, apparently exchange a few words, and then scamper back as fast 
as his legs would carry him. 

By-and-by, as we kept perfectly still, some of our near neighbours were 
seen cautiously poking their heads from out their holes, and looking crafti- 
ly, and, at the same time, inquisitively about them. Gradually a citizen 
would emerge from the entrance of his domicil, come out upon his obser- 
vatory, perk his head cunningly, and then commence yelping somewhat 
after the manner of a young puppy — a quick jerk of the tail accompany- 
ing each yelp. It is this short bark alone that has given them the name of 
Dogs, as they bear no more resemblance to that animal, either in appear- 
ance, action, or manner of living, than they do to the hyena. 

We were armed, one with a double-barrelled shot-gun, and another 
with one of Colt's repeating-rifles of smallbore, while I had my short heavy 
rifle, throwing a large ball, and acknowledged by all to be the best wea- 
pon in the command. It would drive a ball completely through a buffalo 
at the distance of a hundred and fifty-yards, and there was no jumping off 
or running away by a deer when struck in the right place ; to use a com- 
mon expression, " he would never know what had hurt him." Hit one of 
the Dogs where we would, with a small ball, he would almost invariably 
turn a peculiar somerset, and get into his hole, but by a ball, from my rifle, 
the entire head of the animal would be knocked off, and after this, there was 
no escape. With the shot-gun again, we could do nothing but waste ammuni- 
tion. I fired it at one Dog not ten steps off, having in a good charge of buck- 
shot, and thought I must cut him into fragments. I wounded him severely, 
but with perhaps three or four shot through him, he was still able to 
wriggle and tumble into his hole. 

For three hours we remained in this commonwealth, watching the 
movements of the. inhabitants and occasionally picking off one of the more 
unwary. No less than nine were got by the party ; and one circumstance 
I would mention as singular in the extreme, and shewing the social rela- 
tionship which exists among these animals, as well as the kind regard 
they have for one another. One of them had perched himself upon the 
pile of earth in front of his hole, sitting up and exposing a fair mark, while 
a companion's head was seen poking out of the entrance, too timid, perhaps, 
to trust himself farther. A well-directed ball from my rifle carried away 
the entire top of the former's head, and knocked him some two or three 
feet from his post perfectly dead. While reloading, the other boldly came 


out, seized his companion by one of his less, and before we could reach 
the hole had drawn him completely out of sitrht. There was a touch of 
feeling in the little incident, a something human, which raised the animals 
in mj estimation, and ever alter I did not attempt to kill one of them, 
except when driven by extreme hunger.' 1 

Mr. Kendall says, further on. of these animals: — "They area wild, 
frolicsome, madcap set of fellows when undisturbed, uneasy and ever on the 
move, and appear to take especial delight in chattering away the time, 
and visiting from hole to bole to gossip and talk over each other's affairs — 
at least, so their actions would indicate. When they find a good location 
for a village, and there is no water in the immediate vicinity, old hunt* rs 
say. they diir a well to supply the wants of the community. ()n several 
occasions I crepl close to their villages, without being observed, to watch 
their movements. Directly in the centre of one of them 1 particularly 
noticed a very large Dog, sitting in front of the door or entrance to his 
barrow, and by his own actions and chose of his neighbours, it really 
si 1 med as though he was the president, mayor, or chief — at all events, he 
was the "big dog" of the place. For at leasl an hour 1 secretly watched 
the operations in this community. During thai lime the large Dog 1 have 
mentioned received at least a dozen visits from his fellow-dogs, which 
would stop and chat with him a few moments, and then run off to 
their domicils. All this while he never left his post for a moment, and I 
thought I emdd discover a gravity in his deportment not discernible in 
those by winch he was surrounded. Par is it from me to say, that the 
visits he received were upon business, or had anything to do with the 
local government of the village; bul it certainly appeared so. [fany 
animal has a system of laws regulating the body politic, it is certainly 
the Prairie Dog." 

This marmot tumbles, or rolls over, when he enters his hole, "with an 
entric bound and half-somerset, his hind-feet knocking together as he 
pitches headlong into the darkness below : and before the spectator has 
recovered from the half-laugh caused by the drollery of the movement, he 
will see the Dog slowly thrust his head from his burrow, and with a pert 
and impudent expression of countenance, peer cunningly about, as if to 
ascertain the etl'eet his recent antic had caused." 

Mr. Kendall thinks that the burrowing owl, which he mentions as "a 
singular species of owl, invariably found residing in and about the dog 
towns," is on the best of terms with these marmots, and says, "as he is 
frequently seen entering and emerging from the same hole, this singular 
bird may be, looked upon as a member of the same family, or at least, as a 
retainer whose services are in sonic way necessary to the comlbrt and 


well-being of the animal whose hospitality he shares." This idea is 
doubtless incorrect, and we would almost hazard the assertion that these 
owls prey upon the young, or even the adults, of these marmots ; they 
also, probably, devour the bodies of those which die in their holes, and 
thus may stand toward the animals in the light of sexton and undertaker .' 
Mr. Kendall is entirely correct in what he says about the rattle-snakes, 
which dwell in the same lodges with the Dogs. " The snakes I look upon 
as loafers, not easily shaken oft" by the regular inhabitants, and they make 
use of the dwellings of the Dogs as more comfortable quarters than they 
can find elsewhere. We killed one a short distance from a burrow, which 
had made a meal of a half-grown Dog ; and although I do not think they 
can master the larger animals, the latter are still compelled to let them 
pass in and out without molestation — a nuisance, like many in more ele- 
vated society, that cannot be got rid of." 

Mr. Kendall and his companions found the meat of this species "ex- 
ceedingly sweet, tender, and juicy — resembling that of the squirrel, only 
that it was much fatter." 

None of these animals were seen by J. W. Audubon in his journey 
through that part of Texas lying between Galveston and San Antonio, and 
he only heard of one village, to the northward and westward of Torrey's 
Lodge ; they do not approach the coast apparently, being found only on 
the prairies beyond, or to the westward of the wooded portions of that 
State. A collector of animals and birds, who has passed the last three 
years in various parts of Mexico, and who showed us his whole col- 
lection, had none of these marmots, and we suppose their range does not 
extend as far south as the middle portions of that country. 


This species is found on the banks of the Missouri and its tributaries. 
It also exists near the Platte river in great abundance, tt was seen by 
J. W. Audubon in limited numbers in Sonora and on the sandy hills ad- 
joining the Tulare Valley, and in other parts of California. We do not 
know whether it is an inhabitant of Oregon or not. 


- I 





M U S MISSOURIENSIS .— Aud. and Bach. 

Missouri Mouse. 

PLATE C— Females. 

M. capile amplo, cruribus robustis, auriculis sub albidis, cauda carta. 
corpore supra dilute fusca, infra alba. 


Head, broad ; legs, stnut ; cars, whitish ; tail, short, light fawn colour 
above, white beneath. 


Mcs Missouriensis, Aud. and Bach., Quads. North America, vol. 2, plates, 
pi. 100. 


At first sight we might be tempted to regard this animal, as one of the 
endless varieties of the white-footed mouse. It is. however, a very dif- 
ferent species, and when examined in detail, it will be discovered thai 
the colour is the only point of resemblance. The body is stouter, shorter, 
and has a more clumsy appearance. The nose is les.s pointed ; cars, much 
shorter and more rounded ; and the tail, not one-third of the length. 

Head, short and blunt : nose, pointed : eyes. Ian:.' : ears, short, broad at 
base and round, sparsely clothed with short hairs on both surfaces ; mous- 
taches, numerous, long, bending forwards and upwards ; legs, StOUt; four 
toes on the fore-feet, with the rudiment of a thumb, protected by a conspi- 
cuous nail ; nails, rather long, slightly bent, but not hooked. The hind- 
are pendaetylous : the palms are naked : the other portions of the feet and 
toes, covered with short hairs, which do not, however, conceal the nails. 
The tail is short, round, stout at base, gradually diminishing to a point ; 
it is densely covered with very short hair ; the fur on both surfaces is 
short, soft and fine. 


Teeth, yellowish ; whiskers, nearly all white, a few black hairs inter- 
spersed. The fur on the back is plumbeous at the roots to near the points, 


the hairs on the sides are broadly tipped with yellowish-fawn, and 
on the back, are first fawn, and then slightly tipped with black ; on 
the under surface, the hairs are at the roots plumbeous, broadly tipped 
with white. The ears are nearly white, having a slight tinge of buff on 
the outer and inner surfaces, edged with pure white; on the sides of the 
checks, and an irregular and indistinct line along the sides, the colours 
are brighter than those on the flanks, and may be described as light yel- 
lowish-brown. The feet, on both surfaces, belly, and under surface of tail, 
white ; from this admixture, this species is on the back, light fawn, with 
an indistinct line on the back, and upper surface of tail, of a shade dark* 
er colour. 

m Inches. 

From point of nose to root of tail, ----- 4^ 

tail, ij 

Height of ear, posteriorly, .-..-. g 


We close our second volume with this new species of mouse, of which 
we have given three figures. This pretty little animal was discovered for 
us by Mr Denig, during our sojourn at, and in the neighbourhood of Fort 
Union in 1843. It was in full summer pelage, having been killed on the 
14th of July. At that time being in quest of antelopes and large animals, 
we did not give it that close attention, which we should have done. A 
glance at our plate, or an examination of our description, will suffice to 
convince any one of its being entirely new. This species is much larger, 
and has a thicker and shorter tail than mus leucopus. 

Expecting to get more of them we did not make any notes of the 
habits of those killed at that time, and which had doubtless been observed 
by the hunters, who procured them. The next day after they were 
brought in, we left the fort on an expedition to the Yellow-Stone river, 
from which we did not return for some time. 

As a short description of our mode of travelling, &c, the first day's 
journal is here given. "July 15, Saturday, we were all up pretty early, 
making preparations for our trip to the Yellow-Stone river. After break- 
fast all the party who were going, announced themselves as ready, and 
with a wagon, a cart, and two extra men from the fort, we crossed the 
Missouri, and at 7 o'clock, were fairly under way ; Harris, Bell, Cul- 
bertson, and ourself in the wagon. Squires, Provost, and Owen on horse- 
back, while the cart brought a skiff, to be launched on the Yellow-Stone, 


when we should arrive at thai river. We travelled rather slowly until 
we had crossed a point and headed the ponds on the prairie at the foot 
»r the hills opposite the fort. We saw one sharp-tailed grouse, but al- 
though Mr. Harris searched for it diligently, it could not be started. 
Soon after this we got one of the wheels of our wagon fast in a crack 
or crevice in the ground, and wrenched it so badly that we were obliged 
to u'et out and walk, while the men set to work to repair the wheels 
which were all in a rickety condition : alter the needful fixing-up had 
been done, the wagon overtook us. and we proceeded on. Saw some 
antelopes on the prairie, and many more on the tops of the hills bound- 
ing our view to the westward. We stopped to water the horses at a 
"saline." where we observed that buffaloes, antelopes, and other animals 
had been to drink, and had been lying down on the margin. The water 
was too hot for us to drink. Alter sitting for nearly an hour to allow the 
horses to gel cool enough to take a bait, for it was Very warm, we again 
proceeded on until we came to the bed of a stream, which during spring 
overflows its banks, but now exhibits only pools of water here and there. 
In one of these pools we soaked our dry wagon wheels, by way of tight- 
ening the "tires." and here we refreshed ourselves and quenched our 
thirst. Shi ires, Provost, and Owen, started on before us to reconnoitre, 
and we followed at a pretty good pace, as the prairie was hereabouts firm 
and tolerably smooth. Shot a red-winged black-bird. Heard the note-, 
of Xi'itm.i.'s short-billed marsh-wren, — supposed by some of our party 
to be those of a new bird. Saw nothing else ; reached our camping-place 
at about (i o'clock. Unloaded the wagon and cart, hobbled the horM^ 
and turned them out to grass. Two or three of the men went off to a 
point above our camp, in search of something for supper. We took the 
red-winged black-bird, and a fishing-line, and went to the bank ofthe famed 
\ elloW-Stone river, (near the margin of which our tent was pitched.) and 
in this stream of the tar west, running from the bases of the Rocky Moun- 
tains, we threw our line, and exercised our piscatory skill so successfully 
as to catch some cal fish. These fish we found would not bite at pieces 
of their own kind, with which we tried them ; after expending our bird 
bait, we therefore gave up fishing. One of our men took a bath, while 
two others, having launched the skiff rowed across the river to seek for 
deer or other game on the opposite shore. Toward dark the hunting par- 
ties all returned to cam]) without success: and we found the eat-tish the 
principal portion of our supper, having no fresh meat at all. 

Our supper over, all parties shortly disposed themselves to sleep as they 
best could. About 10 o'clock, we were all disturbed by a violent thunder 
storm, accompanied by torrents of rain and vivid flashes of lightning; 
\ 01 . in. — 13 


the wind arose and blew a gale ; all of us were a-foot in a few moments; 
and amid some confusion, our guns, loaded with ball, and our ammunition, 
were placed under the best covering we could provide, our beds huddled 
together ander the tent along with them, and some of us crawled in on 
top of all, while others sought shelter under the shelving bank of the 
river. This storm benefitted us, however, by driving before the gale the 
mosquitoes, to keep off which we had in vain made a large fire, before 
we laid ourselves down for the night." 

As there is little grain of any kind grown in this part of the country, 
the Missouri Mouse no doubt exists on the seeds and roots of wild plants 
entirely, of which it is able to lay up a store for the winter in holes in the 
ground. It may, however, possibly resort to the patches of corn planted 
by the squaws of some of the Indian tribes, at the time that grain is ripe. 
We brought with us from this country, when we returned home, some ears 
of a very small corn, (maize,) which ripens early, and bears its fruit near 
the ground. Having planted it on our place, we found that it was ad- 
vanced enough to be eaten at table as a vegetable, several weeks before 
the ordinary kinds of corn known about New-York. We, therefore, dis- 
tributed some of the seed among our farming neighbours, and likewise sent 
some to England to Lord Derby and other friends, but this was unfortu- 
nately lost. We incline to believe that this corn would ripen well in the 
climate of England or Scotland. Unluckily, ours has become mixed by 
having been planted too near common corn, and is now depreciated or re 
duced to nearly the same thing as the latter, 


This species was discovered in the State of Missouri, 


The Missouri Mouse bears some resemblance to the common and very 
widely distributed White-footed Mouse. Its comparatively heavy and 
clumsy form — its large head and short tail have induced us to regard it as 
a distinct species. In the mice, shrews, and bats, we have no doubt 
several interesting species will yet be detected in our country. 


American Bison, 



Black Wolf, 

White do., 

Red Fox, 

Antelope. Prong-horned, 
Simulated Marmot Squirrel, 
Antilocapra, Genus, 


Arvicola Pinetoram, 
Barking, or Prairie Wolf, 
Bassaris, ( lenus, 



Bear, Polar, or white, 
Bison. Genua, 
Americanos, . 


Black American Wolf, 
Black-tailed Hare, . 
Black-footed Ferret, 
Brewers Shrew Mole, 
Blown or Norway Rat, 
Bridled Weasel, 


Canada Otter, 
Cards, Genoa, 

Lupus (var. Rufus), 

Lupus, (var. Ater), 

Lupus (var. Albus), 


Carolina Shrew, 
( ervus Genus, 


. 32 

. 83 
. 2-20 
. 126 
. 156 
. 263 
. 193 
. 213 
. 193 
. 193 
. 216 
. 150 
. 314 
. 314 
. S81 
. 32 
. 32 
. 32 
. 126 

. 95 
. 397 
. 173 

• 22 
. 71 
. 32 

. 126 
. 240 

• 126 
■ 156 
. 150 
. 176 
. 179 

CervoB Macrotis, 



Condylars, Genus, 

( 'omtnon Mouse, 

American Deer 


Deer, Wapite, . 
Moose, . 

Mnle. . 

Common American, or V 

Didelplns. Genus, 
Virginia na, 

Elaphus, Genus, 


Elk, American, 

Felis, Genus, . 


Ferret. Black-footed, 
Fox, Swift, 

Kit, . 


Fox Squirrel, 

Franklin's Marmot Squirrel, 

Genus Lutra, 



. 206 

. 220 


. 139 

. 139 

. 277 
. 220 
. 305 
. 83 

. 83 


. 83 

. 56 

. 13 
. 13 









Genus Condylura, 


Ovis, . 




Mcriones, . 




Golden-bellied Squirrel, 

Hare, black-tailed, - 

Little-chief, . 



Texan, .... 

Jumping Mouse, 

Lagomys, Genus, . 


Leconte's Pine Mouse, . 


Lepus Artemisia, 

Callotis, . 

Nuttallii, . 

Little-chief Hare, . 

Harvest Mouse, 

Lutra, Genus, 


Lynx, Rufus (var. Maculatus), 

Marmot Squirrel, Franklin's, . 



Mephitis Mesoleuca, 
Meriones, Genus, . 


Mole, Starnose, 


Mouse, Leconte's Pine, . 

Jumping, . 

Little Harvest, . 

Common, . 

Orange Coloured, 


Missouri Mouse, . 

. 139 

. 145 

. 179 

. 193 
. 314 

. 95 
. 244 
. 300 
. 95 

Moose Deer, 

Mus Missourienais, 

Decumanus, . 



(Calomys) Aureolus, 

Mule Deer, . 

Nuttall's Hare, 


Opossum, Virginian, 

Orange Coloured Mouse, 

Orange-bellied Squirrel, 

Otter, Canada, 

Ovis, Genus, 


251 Panther, 

244 Polar Bear, 

244 Procyon, Genus, . 

216 Lot or, . 

258 Prairie Wolf, 

272 Marmot Squirrel, 

95 D °g. 

300 Prong-horned Antelope, 

244 Putorius Erminea, 

103 Frenata, 

! Nigripes, 

2 Pusillus, 


293 Rat, Brown or Norway, 


248 Red-tailed Squirrel, 

213 Red Texan Wolf, 

319 Red Fox, . 

• 1° Ring-tailed Bassaris, 

251 Rocky-Mountain Sheep, 

139 Say's, Squirrel, . 

173 Least Shrew, 

216 Scalops Breweri, . 

251 Sciurus, Rubricaudatus, 

. 103 Sub-Auratus, 

277 Capistratus, . 

303 Sayii, 

327 Shrew, Carolina, 

327 Say's Least, 

. 179 
. 327 

. 22 

. 103 

. 277 

. 303 

. 206 

. 300 


. 258 

. 107 

. 303 


. 67 




. 163 


. 163 

• * 

. 305 

. 281 

. 74 


. 150 

. 319 

. 319 

. '93 

. 56 

. 71 

. 297 

. 100 

. 22 

. 74 

. 30 

. 240 

. 263 

• 314 


. 163 

. 274 

. 145 

. 173 

. 30 

. 67 

. 132 

. 274 


. 176 


. 145 



Sheep, Rocky Mountain, 
Skunk, Texan, 
Small Weasel, 
Sorex, Genus, 


Carolinensis, . 

Spermophilus, Frank^nii, 



Squirrel, Red-tailed, 

( liange-bellied, 



Say's, • • 

jtar-nose Mole, . 
itoat, .... 
jwifl Pox, . 

Texan Skunk, 





. 100 











27 1 







I'rMis. Genus, 

.mi Opossum, 
Deer. ■ 

Vulpes, Velox, 

VVapite Deer, 
Weasel, While. . 
Bridled, . 


White Weasel, 


Ameriean Wolf, 

Wormwood Hare, 
Wolf. Black American, 

Prairie, or Barking 

White. American, 

Red, Texan, 











31 it 



l. D 







Lutra Canadensis, 
Vulpes Velox, • 
Mephitis Mesoleuoa, . 
Mas Decumanus, 
Scinrns Rubrioaudatne, 
Bison Americanus, 
Sciurua Sub-anratua, . 
Putorius Krmitiea, 
Putorius Prenata, 
Procyon Lotor, 
Blaphus i Canadensis, . 
Lepus NigricaudatnB, . 

Putorius Piisillus, 
Mils llmnilis, 
Didelphia Virginians, . 


. Canada Oil' r 


. Swifi F .... 


. Texan skunk, .... 


. Ifron-H, or Norway, Rat, 


. Red-tailed Squirrel, 


. . . American Bison, or Buffalo, 


. Orange-bellied Squirrel, 


. While Weasel, Stoat, . 


. liridltil It ... 


. Raccoon, .... 


. American Elk, Wapiti Deer, 


. Bltick-taihd Hurt. . . . . 


Small Weasel, . ... 


. . . Little Harvest Mntfr 



Virginian Opossum, 




Canis Lupus, (var. Ater.), 

S-'ciurus Capistratus, . 

Condylura Cristata 

Sorex Parvus, . 

Canis Latrans, . 

Canis Lupus (var. Albus), 

Ovis Montana, . 

Scalops Breuerii, 

Sorex Carolinensis, . 

Cervus Aloes, . 

Antilocapra Americana, 

Cervus JIacrotis, . 

Spennophilus Annulatus, . 

Arvicola Pinetorum, 

Cervus Virginianus, 

Canis Lupus (var. Ruins), 

Lagomys Princeps, 

Spermophilus Franklinii, . 

Meriones Hudsonicus, 

Felis Pardalis, 

Vulpes Fulvus, 

Lepus Artemesia, 

Sciurus Sayi, 

Mus Musculus, . « 

Ursus Maritimus, 

Lynx Rufus (var. Maculatus), 

Putorius Nigripes, 

Lepus NuttallM, 

Mus (Calomys) Aureolus, . 

Felis Coneolor, 

Bassaris Astuta, 

Spermophilus Ludovicianus, 

Mus Missouriensis, 

Black American Wolf, 

. 12t> 

Fox Squirrel, .... 

. 133 

Common Star-nose Mole', 

. 139 

Say's Least Shrew, 

. 145 

Prairie Wolf, .... 

. 150 

While American Wolf, 

. 156 

Rocky Mountain Sheep, 
Brewer's Shreiv-Mole, 

. 163 
. 173 

Carolina Shreie, 

. 176 

Moose Deer, .... 

. 179 

Prong-horned Antelope, 

Mule Deer, .... 

. 193 

Annulated Marmot- Squirrel, 


Leconte's Pine Mouse, 

. 216 

Common American Deer (fawn), . 

. 220 

Red Texan Wolf, 


Little-chief Hare, 


Franklin'' s Marmot- Squirrel, 


Jumping Mouse, . . . 


Ocelot, or Leopard Cat, 
American Red Fox, . 


Wormwood Hare, . 


Say's Sqttirrel, 

Common Mouse, . 



Polar Bear, 


Texan Lynx, ..... 


Black-footed Ferret, . . . . 


NuttaWs Hare, 


Orange Coloured Mouse, 


Cougar, ...... 

Ring-tailed Bassaris, . . . . 


Prairie Dog, Prairie Marmot- Squirrel, 


Missouri Mouse, . 





Genus Lutra, 


Genus Ovis, 



" Bison, 






" Procyon, 





" Elaphus, 

. ' 83 





" Didelphis, 






" Canis, 






" Condylura, . 






" Sorex, 






\ M 

hi . 



■ lHk WLWkWW i 


Mmwfw^ ■ WFmm