107 Lewis Marmot
ARCTOMYS LEWISII.--AUD. and BACH. [Marmota flaviventris] LEWIS'S MARMOT. [Yellow-bellied Marmot] PLATE CVII.--Males. A. Rufo-fulvus, pedibus albo-virgatis, cauda apice albo; magnitudine leporis sylvatici, forma a monacis.
CHARACTERS. Size of the grey rabbit; general shape of the head and body similar to that of A. monax; colour reddish-brown; feet barred with white; end of tail white. DESCRIPTION. Head, rather small; body, round and full; ears short, ovate, with somewhat acute points, thickly clothed with short hairs on both sides; whiskers long, extending beyond the ears; nose blunt, naked; eyes, of moderate size; teeth, rather smaller than those of the Maryland marmot; feet, short; nails, rather long and arched, the nail on the thumb being large and nearly the size of the others; tail short, round, not distichous, thickly clothed with hair to the end; the hair is of two kinds--a short, dense fur beneath, with longer and rigid hairs interspersed. COLOUR. Nose, black; incisors, yellowish-white; nails, black; the whole upper surface and the ears, reddish-brown; this colour is produced by the softer fur underneath being light yellowish-brown, and the longer hairs, at their extremities, blackish-brown. On the haunches the hairs are interspersed with black and yellowish-brown; feet and belly, light salmon-red; tail, from the root for half its length, reddish-brown, the other half to the tip soiled white; above the nose, edges of ears, and along the cheeks, pale reddish-buff. There is a white band across the toes, and another irregular one behind them; and an irregularly defined dark-brown line around the back of the head and lower part of the chin, marking the separation of the head from the throat and neck. DIMENSIONS. Feet. Inches. From nose to root of tail,. . . . . . 1 4 Tail (vertebrae),. . . . . . . . . 0 2 Tail (to end of hair), . . . . . . . 0 3 Point of nose to ear, . . . . . . . 0 2 Point of nose to eye, . . . . . . . 0 1 Heel to middle claw,. . . . . . . . 0 2 1/2 HABITS. From the form of this animal we may readily be convinced that it possesses the characteristics of the true Marmots. These animals are destitute of cheek-pouches; they burrow in the earth; live on grasses and grains; seldom climb trees, and when driven to them by a dog do not mount high, but cling to the bark, and descend as soon as the danger is over. As far as we have been able to ascertain, all the spermophiles or burrowing squirrels are gregarious, and live in communities usually numbering several hundreds, and often thousands. On the contrary, the Marmots, although the young remain with the mother until autumn, are found to live solitarily, or at most in single pairs. It was not our good fortune ever to have met with this species in a living state, hence we regret that we are unable to offer anything in regard to its peculiar habits. GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION. We have no doubt this species, like the other Marmots, has an extensive geographical range, but coming from so distant a part of our country as Oregon, which has been so little explored by naturalists, we are obliged to make use of the vague term "shores of the Columbia river" as its habitat. GENERAL REMARKS. We have not felt at liberty to quote any authorities or add any synonymes for this species, inasmuch as we cannot find that any author has referred to it. The specimen from which our figure was made, and which we believe is the only one existing in any collection, was sent to the Zoological Society by the British fur-traders who are in the habit of annually carrying their peltry down the Columbia river to the Pacific. It is labelled in the museum of the Zoological Society, No. 461, page 48 Catalogue, Arctomys brachyura ? HARLAN. The history of the supposed species of HARLAN is the following: LEWIS and CLARK (Expedition, vol. ii. p. 173) describe an animal from the plains of the Columbia under the name of burrowing squirrel. No specimen was brought. HARLAN and RAFINESQUE in quick succession applied their several names to the species, the former styling it Arctomys brachyura and the latter Anisonyx brachyura. When the present specimen was received at the Museum, the name of A. brachyura was given to it, with a doubt. On turning to LEWIS and CLARK's descriptions, the only guides which any naturalists possess in reference to the species, we find that they refer to an animal whose whole contour resembles that of the squirrel, the thumbs being remarkably short and equipped with blunt nails, and the hair of the tail thickly inserted on the sides only, which gives it a flat appearance, whereas the animal of this article does not resemble a squirrel in its whole contour; its thumbs, instead of being remarkably short and equipped with blunt nails, have long nails nearly the length of those on the other toes, and the tail, instead of being flat with the hairs inserted on the sides, is quite round. It differs also so widely in several other particulars that we deem it unnecessary to institute a more minute comparison. We have little doubt that LEWIS and CLARK, who, although not scientific naturalists, had a remarkably correct knowledge of animals, and described them with great accuracy, had, in their account of the burrowing squirrel, reference to some species of spermophile--probably Spermophilus Townsendii, described in this volume--which certainly answers the description referred to much nearer than the species of this article.