20 Townsend's Ground Squirrel
TAMIAS TOWNSENDII.--Bach. [Eutamis townsendii] TOWNSEND'S GROUND-SQUIRREL. [Townsend's chipmunk] PLATE XX. T. obscurus, supra flavo-fuscescens, striis quinque nigris longitudinalibus subequaliter distantibus dorsali usque ad caudam porrecta; subtus cinereus. T. Lysteri magnitudine superans.
CHARACTERS. A little larger than Tamias Lysteri; tail much longer; upper surface, dusky yellowish-brown, with five nearly equidistant parallel black stripes on the back, the dorsal one extending to the root of the tail; under surface cinereous. SYNONYME. TAMIAS TOWNSENDII, Townsend's Ground Squirrel, Journal Acad. of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, vol. viii., part 1, 1839. DESCRIPTION. Head, of moderate size; forehead, convex; nose, rather obtuse, clothed with very short hairs; nostrils, opening downward, their margins and septum naked; whiskers, as long as the head; eyes, large; ears, long, erect, obovate, clothed with short hair on the outer, and nearly naked on the inner surface; cheek-pouches, tolerably large. In form this species resembles T. Lysteri; it is, however, longer and stouter. Legs, of moderate size; toes, long; the fore-feet have four toes, with the rudiment of a thumb, protected by a short convex nail; the palms are naked, with five tubercles. Claws, curved, compressed, and sharp-pointed. On the hind-feet, five toes, the third and fourth nearly of equal length, the second a little shorter, and the first, or inner toe, shortest. Tail, long and subdistichous. COLOUR. Teeth, dark orange; whiskers, black; a line of fawn-colour, commencing at the nostrils, runs over the eyebrows, and terminates a little beyond them in a point of lighter colour; a patch of a similar colour commences under the eye-lids, and running along the cheeks, terminates at the ear. A line of dark brown, commencing at the termination of the nose, where it forms a point, and bordering the fawn-colour above, is gradually blended with the colours of the head; fur on the outer surface of the ear, brown on the anterior parts, with a patch of white covering about one-fourth of the ear. On the posterior part of the ear there is a slight cinereous tint about six lines in length, terminating near the shoulder. A black stripe commences on the hind part of the head and runs over the centre of the back, where it spreads out to the width of four lines, terminating in a point at the insertion of the tail; a line of the same colour commences at the shoulders, and running parallel to the first, terminates a little beyond the hips; another, but narrower and shorter line of black runs parallel with this, low down on the sides, giving it five black stripes about equi-distant from each other. On the throat, belly, and inner parts of the legs and thighs, the colour is light cinereous; there is no Line of separation between the colours of the back and belly. The tail is, on the upper surface, grayish-black, having a hoary appearance. Underneath, it is reddish-brown for two-thirds of its breadth, then a narrow line, of black, tipped with light ash. Nails, brown. DIMENSIONS. Inches. Lines. Length of head and body . . . . . . . . . 6 9 Length of tail (vertebrae,) . . . . . . . . 4 0 Length of tail including fur. . . . . . . . 5 0 Length of head . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 0 Height of ear. . . . . . . . . . . . . 0 6 Length from heel to end of nail. . . . . . . 1 6 HABITS. No doubt the different species of this genus are as uniform in their habits as the true squirrels. They are usually found seated low, on stumps or rocks, at the roots of or near which they have their burrows. Their cheek-pouches enable them to carry to these hiding-places, nuts, grains, &c., to serve them for food in winter. Mr. TOWNSEND, who procured the specimens from which we have drawn up our description, observes, "This pretty little fellow, so much resembling our common T. striatus, (Lysteri,) is quite common; it lives in holes in the ground; running over your foot as you traverse the woods. It frequently perches itself upon a log or stump, and keeps up a continual clucking, which is usually answered by another at some distance, for a considerable tune. Their note so much resembles that of the dusky grouse, (Tetrao obscurus,) that I have more than once been deceived by it." GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION. We have heard of this species as existing from the 37th to the 45th degree of latitude, on the Rocky Mountains. It probably does not extend to the eastward of that chain, as we saw nothing of it on our late expedition up the Missouri river, to the mouth of the Yellow-Stone, &c. GENERAL REMARKS. The markings of this Ground-Squirrel differ widely from those of any other known species. From Tamias Lysteri it differs considerably, being larger and having a much longer tail; it has a white patch behind the ear, and cinereous markings on the neck, of which the latter is destitute; the ears are a third longer than in T. Lysteri. The stripes on the back are also very differently arranged. In Tamias Lysteri there is first a black dorsal stripe, then a space of grayish-brown, half an inch wide, then two shorter stripes, within two lines of each other; which narrow intervening portion is yellowish-white. The stripes in the present species are at a uniform distance from each other, the dorsal one running to the tail; whereas, in the other it does not reach within an inch of it, and the intervening spaces are filled up by a uniform colour. This species has not the whitish stripes on the sides, nor the rufous colour on the hips, which are so conspicuous in T. Lysteri.