103            Hoary Marmot - The Whistler

                        ARCTOMYS PRUINOSUS.--PENNANT.
                               [Marmota caligata]

                          HOARY MARMOT.--THE WHISTLER.
                                 [Hoary Marmot]

                              PLATE CIII.--MALES.

     A. vellere cano longo, denso, maxime in thorace humorisque, in partibus
posterioribus fulvo-flavescente, cauda comosa fusco nigriscente.

     Fur, long, dense, and hoary, particularly on the chest and shoulders;
hinder parts dull yellowish-brown; tail bushy, blackish-brown.


     HOARY MARMOT.  Pennant, Hist. Quadr., vol. ii. p. 130.
     HOARY MARMOT.  Pennant, Arctic Zool., vol. i. p. 112.
     GROUND-HOG.  Mackenzie's Voyage, p. 515.
     WHISTLER.  Harmon's Journal, p. 427.
     ARCTOMYS (?) PRUINOSUS.  Rich, Zool. Jour., No. 12, p. 518.  Mar. 1828.
     ARCTOMYS (?) PRUINOSUS.  Rich, Fauna Boreali Americana, p. 150.
     QUISQUIS-QUI-PO.  Cree Indians.
     DEH-IE.  Cheppewyans.
     ARCTOMYS PRUINOSA.  Harlan, Fauna, p. 169.
     ARCTOMYS CALLIGATA.  Eschscholtz, Zoologischer Atlas, Berlin, 1829, pl. 6,
       part 2, p. 1.


     In form, this animal (which we examined whilst it was alive at the
Zoological Gardens in London) bears a considerable resemblance to the European
Marmot (Arctomys Marmota).  It also resembles the Maryland Marmot (A. Monax).
Being, at the time we saw it, excessively fat, the body, when it lay down,
spread out or flattened like that of the badger; it was so covered with dense
and very long hair that it was difficult to recognize the true outline; it
subsequently shed its hair, and our figure was taken in its new and shorter
pelage.  The animal is rather longer than the Maryland Marmot; head, of moderate
size; eyes, rather small but conspicuous; ears, oval and covered with hair on
both surfaces; feet short, robust, and clothed with hair; nails strong, slightly
arched, free; tail, short, and thickly clothed with long and coarse hair, to the
extremity.  The pelage is a soft and dense fur beneath, covered with longer and
more rigid hairs.


     Fur on the back, dark at base, the outer portion white, with black points
more or less extended; on the rump it is dull-brown at the roots, with black and
yellow towards the extremities.  The general appearance of the animal, owing to
the admixture of these dark-brown and white hairs, of which the white
predominate, is hoary-brown.
     Upper surface of nose, ears, back part of the head, feet, and nails, black;
a black band runs backwards from behind the ears for about an inch and a half,
and then descends nearly vertically on the neck, where it vanishes; sides of
muzzle, and behind the nostrils above, as well as chin, pure white; cheeks,
grizzled with rust-colour and black; moustaches, nearly all black, a few,
     There are a few white hairs on the middle toes of the fore-feet; tail
black, varied with rusty-brown, and a few whitish hairs with black points; whole
under parts pale rust colour, with a slight mixture of black on the belly;
extremities of the ears slightly tipped with white; upper incisors, yellow;
lower, nearly white.


                                                  Foot.   Inches.   Lines.

     Length from point of nose to root of tail,  .  1        7        0
     Length of tail (vertebrae),  .  .  .  .  .  .  0        5        6
     Length of tail including hair,  .  .  .  .  .  0        7        9
     Point of nose to end of head,.  .  .  .  .  .  0        3        4
     Ear, .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  0        0        5 1/2
     Palm and nail,.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  0        2        9
     Nail,.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  0        0        9
     Tarsus, .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  0        3        8
     Nail on hind foot,  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  0        0        8


     This Marmot was described by PENNANT, from a skin preserved in the Leverian
Museum, which was for many years the only specimen in any known collection.  It
appears to have afterwards become a question whether there was such an animal,
or whether it might not prove to be the Maryland Marmot, the original specimen,
above mentioned, having been lost.  HARLAN says of it, "This specimen was
supposed to have come from the northern parts of North America."  GODMAN does
not mention it.  Dr. Richardson quotes PENNANT's description, and states that he
did not himself obtain, a specimen; but "if correct" in considering it as the
same as the Whistler of HARMON, "we may soon hope to know more of it, for the
traders who annually cross the Rocky Mountains from Hudson's Bay to the Columbia
and New Caledonia are well acquainted with it."  He also mentions that one,
(HARMON's Whistler, we presume) which was procured for him by a gentleman, was
so much injured that he did not think it fit to be sent."  The Doctor then gives
the following account of it, and appears to have been quite correct in supposing
it identical with the animal referred to by HARMON:  "The Whistler inhabits the
Rocky Mountains from latitude 45 degrees to 32 degrees, and probably farther
both ways:  it is not found in the lower parts of the country.  It burrows in
sandy soil, generally on the sides of grassy hills, and may be frequently seen
cutting hay in the autumn, but whether for the purpose of laying it up for food,
or merely for lining its burrows, I did not learn.  While a party of them are
thus occupied, they have a sentinel on the lookout upon an eminence, who gives
the alarm on the approach of an enemy, by a shrill whistle, which may be heard
at a great distance.  The signal of alarm is repeated from one to another as far
as their habitations extend.  According to Mr. HARMON, they feed on roots and
herbs, produce two young at a time, and sit upon their hind-feet when they give
their young suck.  They do not come abroad in the winter."
     "The Indians take the Whistler in traps set at the mouths of their holes,
consider their flesh as delicious food, and, by sewing a number of their skins
together, make good blankets."
     Our drawing of this Marmot was made from the specimen now in the museum of
the Zoological Society of London, which is, we believe, the only one, even at
this day, to be found in Europe, with the exception of a "hunter's skin" (i. e.,
one without skull, teeth, or legs), which was presented to the British Museum by
Dr. RICHARDSON, and was probably the one he refers to in the extract we have
given above from the Fauna Boreali Americana.  The specimen in the Zoological
Museum is well preserved, the animal, which was alive when presented to the
Society by B. KING Esq., having died in the Menagerie (Zoological Gardens) in
Regent's Park.
     The living animal, when we observed it, seemed to be dull and sleepy.  Its
cage was strewed with grass and herbs, on which it had been feeding.

                           GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION.

     The first specimen of this species was brought to England from Hudson's
Bay.  The specimen we have figured was obtained on Captain BACK's expedition.
It inhabits the Rocky Mountains from 45 degrees to 62 degrees, and will probably
be found both to the north and south of these latitudes.

                                GENERAL REMARKS.

     It is somewhat remarkable that an animal so large as the Hoary Marmot--so
widely diffused throughout the fur countries, where it is seen by traders and
hunter--should be so little known to naturalists.  When the living animal was
brought to the Zoological Gardens it excited much interest, as the existence of
the species had for many years been doubted.
     We spent an hour at the Museum of the Zoological Society in London With Dr.
RICHARDSON and Mr. WATERHOUSE, examining the specimen to which ESCHSCHOLZ had
given the name of A. Calligata; and we unanimously came to the conclusion that
it was the A. Pruinosus.