39            Leopard Spermophile

                        [Spermophilus tridecemlineatus]

                        [Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel]

                         PLATE XXXIX.--MALE AND FEMALE.

     Magnitudine Tamiae Lysteri; supra striis octo longitudinalibus dilute
fulvis cum striis novem fulvis alternatum distributis; harum quinque, stria
media et duabus utrinque proximis guttis subalbidis subquadratus distinctis.

     Size of the chipping-squirrel (Tamias Lysteri); eight pale yellowish-brown
stripes on the back, which alternate with nine broader yellowish-brown ones; the
five uppermost being marked with a row of pale spots.


     LEOPARD GROUND-SQUIRREL, Schoolcraft's Travels, p. 313, and Index,
       anno 1821.
     SCIURUS TRIDECEM LINEATUS, Mitchill, Med. Repository, 1821.
     ARCTOMYS HOODII, Sabine, Linn. Trans., vol. xii., p. 590, 1822.
     ARCTOMYS HOODII, Franklin's Journey, p. 663.
     SPERMOPHILE, F. Cuvier, Hist. Nat. des Mamm.
     ARCTOMYS TRIDECEM LINEATA, Harlan, Fauna, p. 164.
     HOOD'S MARMOT, Godman, vol. ii., p. 112.
     ARCTOMYS HOODII, Fischer's Synopsis, p. 544.
     SPERMOPHILUS HOODII, Less., Mamm., p. 243, 654.
     SPERMOPHILUS HOODII, Desmarest, in Dict. des Sc. Nat., L. p. 139.
     SPERMOPHILUS HOODII, F. Cuv. et Geoff., Mamm., fasc. 46.
     ARCTOMYS TRIDECEM LINEATA, Griffith, sp. 641.
     ARCTOMYS (SPERMOPHILUS) HOODII, Rich., Fauna Boreali Americana, p. 177,
       pl. 14.


     In form this species bears a considerable resemblance to the very common
chipping squirrel of the Atlantic States; by its shorter ears, however, and by
its longer nails, which are intended more for digging than climbing, it
approaches the marmots.  The head has a convex shape and is very much curved,
especially from the forehead to the nose; the nose is obtuse, and with the
exception of the nostrils and septum is completely covered with very short
hairs.  The mouth is far back; the cheek-pouches of moderate size.  Whiskers, a
little shorter than the head; eyes, large; ears, very short, consisting merely
of a low short lobe behind and above the auditory opening; they are covered with
very short hairs.  The hair on the whole body is short, adpressed, and glossy.
     Legs and feet, rather slender; nails, long, slightly arched, and channelled
beneath toward their extremities.  On the fore-feet the thumb has one joint,
with an obtuse nail; the second toe is longest, (as in the spermophiles, and not
the third, as in the squirrels;) the first and third are of equal length; the
fourth shortest, and removed far back.  The tail is linear; for an inch from the
root the fur lies so close that it appears rounded, it then gradually widens,
becomes flattened, and seems capable of a slight distichous arrangement.
Mammae, twelve, situated along the sides of the abdomen.


     A line around the eye and a spot beneath, inner and outer surfaces of the
legs, and the whole under part of the body, of a pale yellowish colour; on the
sides of the neck, the fore-legs near the shoulders, and on the hips, there are
tinges of reddish-brown; the feet near the nails, and the under-jaw, are dull
white.  On the head, there are irregular and somewhat indistinct alternate
stripes of brown and yellowish-white, being an extension of the stripes on the
back, which, from the irregular blending of the colours, give it a spotted
     On the back there are five longitudinal brown stripes, each having regular
rows of square spots of yellowish-white; the dorsal stripe, which runs from the
back part of the head, and extends for half an inch beyond the root of the tail,
is a little the broadest.  These dark-coloured stripes are separated from each
other by straight and uniform lines of yellowish-white.  There are also on each
side, two less distinct brown stripes, that are not spotted.  Thus the animal
has five brown stripes that are spotted, and four that are plain and without
spots, together with eight yellowish-white stripes.
     The hairs in the tail are yellowish-white at the roots, then broadly barred
with black, and at the tips yellowish-white, giving it when distichally arranged
a bar of black on each side of the vertebrae.



     Head and body   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  6 1/8
     Tail (vertebrae)   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  3 1/2
     Tail, to end of hair  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  4 1/2
     From heel to end of nail .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  1 1/2
     Longest claw on the fore-foot  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  0 3/8

     Measurement of an old female.                        Inches.

     Nose to root of tail  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  6 3/4
     Tail (vertebrae)   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  3 1/2
     Tail, to end of hair  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  4 3/8
     Fore-feet to end of claws   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  0 7/8
     Heel to end of longest claw .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  1 3/8
     Nose to opening of ear   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  1 1/2
     Length of pouch, to angle of mouth   .  .  .  .  .  .  1 7/10

     Dr. RICHARDSON measured a male that was nine inches to the insertion of the
tail.  He remarks that the females are smaller than the males.


     We believe it is generally supposed that "birds," with their varied and
pleasing forms, gay and beautiful plumage, tuneful throats, and graceful
movements through the air, present greater attractions to the student of nature
than "quadrupeds," and awaken in him a stronger desire to acquire a knowledge of
their natures and characters than he may entertain to study the habits of the
     In addition, however, to the fact that the latter are, like ourselves,
viviparous, and approach our own organization, it should be remembered that all
the productions of nature are the work of so infinite a wisdom, that they must,
in every department of the physical world, excite our greatest interest and our
admiration, even when examined superficially.
     Among the quadrupeds, there are innumerable varieties of form and
character; and although most animals are nocturnal, and therefore their habits
cannot be studied with the same facility with which the manners and customs of
the lively diurnal species of birds may be observed; yet when we follow them in
their nightly wanderings, penetrate into their retreats, and observe the
sagacity and extraordinary instincts with which they are endowed, we find in
them matter to interest us greatly, and arouse our curiosity and astonishment.
     Owls seem to us a dull and stupid race, principally because we only notice
them during the day, which nature requires them to spend in sleep, the structure
of their eyes compelling them to avoid the light, and seek concealment in hollow
trees, in caves, and obscure retreats.  But we should recollect that the diurnal
birds are, during night, the time for their repose, as dull and stupid as owls
are during the day.  We should therefore not judge the habits of quadrupeds by
the same standard.  In regard to their fur, and external markings, there are
many that will strike even the most careless observer as eminently beautiful.
The little animal which is here presented to you is one of this description.  In
the distribution of the tints that compose its gaudy dress, in the regularity of
its lines and spots, and in the soft blendings of its various shades of colour,
we have evidence that even species whose habitations are under ground, may
present to the eye as rich and beautiful a vesture as is found in the garb of a
majority of the lively songsters of the woods.
     In the warm days of spring the traveller on our Western prairies is often
diverted from the contemplation of larger animals, to watch the movements of
this lively little species.  He withdraws his attention for a moment from the
bellowing buffalo herd that is scampering over the prairies, to fix his eyes on
a lively little creature of exquisite beauty seated oil a diminutive mound at
the mouth of its burrow, which seems by its chirrupings and scoldings to warn
away the intruder on its peaceful domains.  On a nearer approach it darts into
its hole; but although concealed from view, and out of the reach of danger, its
tongue, like that of other scolds of a more intelligent race, is not idle; it
still continues to vent its threats of resentment againt its unwelcome visitor
by a shrill and harsh repetition of the word "seek-seek."
     There is a great similarity in the habits of the various spermophili that
compose the interesting group to which the present species belongs.
     They live principally on the open prairies, make their burrows in the
earth, and feed on roots and seeds of various kinds, which they carry in their
pouches to their dark retreats under ground.
     The holes of this species, according to RICHARDSON, run nearly
perpendicularly, and are so straight, that they will admit a stick to be
inserted to the depth of four or five feet.  He supposes that owing to the depth
of their burrows, which the sun does not penetrate very early in spring, they do
not make their appearance as early as some others, especially S. Richardsonii.
     As soon as they feel the warmth of spring they come forth and go in quest
of their mates; at this period they seem fearless of danger, and are easily
captured by the beasts and birds of prey that frequent the plains.  The males
are said to be very pugnacious at this season.
     This is believed to be the most active and lively of all our known species
of marmot-squirrels; we recently observed one in New-York that played in a wheel
in the manner of the squirrel.  We saw in Charleston a pair in a cage, that were
brought from Missouri by an officer of the army.  They were adults, had but
recently been captured and were rather wild.  They seemed to keep up a constant
angry querulous chattering; they were fed on various kinds of nuts and grains,
but principally on corn-meal and pea or ground-nuts, (Arachis hypogaea.)  They
would come to the bars of the cage and take a nut from the hand, but would then
make a hasty retreat to a little box in the corner of their domicile.  On our
placing a handful of filberts in front of the cage, they at first came out and
carried off one by one to their store-house; but after we had retired so as not
to be observed, they filled their pouches by the aid of their paws, and seemed
to prefer this mode of transporting their provisions.  As we were desirous of
taking measurements and descriptions, we endeavoured to hold one in the hand by
the aid of a glove, but it struggled so lustily and used its teeth so savagely
that we were compelled to let it go.
     This species frequently takes up its residence near the fields and gardens
of the settlers; and in the neighbourhood of Fort Union and other places, was
represented as particularly destructive to the gardens.
     We found the Leopard-Spermophile quite abundant near Fort Union, on the
Upper Missouri.  Their burrows were made in a sandy gravelly soil; they were
never deep or inclined downwards, but ran horizontally within about a foot of
the surface of the earth.  This difference in habit from those observed by
RICHARDSON may be owing to the nature of the different soils.  We dug some of
their burrows and discovered that the holes ran in all directions, containing
many furcations.
     RICHARDSON states that "the males fight when they meet, and in their
contests their tails are often mutilated."  All the specimens, however, that we
obtained, were perfect and in good order.
     The Leopard-Spermophile has two more teats than are found in the majority
of the species of this genus, and hence it may be expected to produce an
additional number of young.  RICHARDSON informs us that ten young were taken
from a female killed at Carlton House.  This was on the 17th May, and we from
hence presume that they produce their young soon after this period.

                        GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION.

     We have not heard of the existence of this species farther to the north
than latitude 55 degrees.  It was found by SAY at Engineer Encampment on the
Missouri; we found it at Fort Union, latitude 40 degrees 40 minutes; and it is
said to extend along the prairies on the Eastern side of the Rocky Mountains
into Mexico.
     The name tridecem lineatus (thirteen lined) is not particularly euphonious,
nor very characteristic; yet as it has in conformity with long established
usages existing among naturalists, been admitted into our standard works, we
have concluded to adopt it.
     The figures given by SABINE and F. CUVIER of this species are defective,
each having been taken from a specimen in which the tail had been mutilated.
That given by RICHARDSON, Fauna boreali Americana, drawn by LANDSEER, is more