149 Fremont's Squirrel & Sooty Squirrel
SCIURUS FREMONTI.--TOWNSEND. [Tamiasciurus hudsonicus fremonti (subspecies)] FREMONT'S SQUIRREL. [Red Squirrel] PLATE CXLIX.--FIG. 1. Magnitudine Sciuri Hudsonii; cauda, corpore breviore; auribus cris tatis; colore supra albido, infra cinereo. CHARACTERS. Size of Sciurus Hudsonius; tail, shorter than the body; ears, tufted. Colour, light gray above, ashy white beneath. DESCRIPTION. Upper incisors, larger than those of S. Richardsonii or S. lanuginosus; lower incisors, longer and more curved than those of S. Hudsonius. The first or deciduous tooth wanting. Body, short and stout, presenting less appearance of lightness and agility than that of the Hudson's Bay Squirrel; head, short and broad; forehead, but slightly arched; ears, rather short, broad, rounded, and much tufted; whiskers, long, reaching to the shoulders; legs, short and stout; the third toe on the fore-foot, slightly the longest; nails, compressed, and shorter, blunter, and less hooked than those of S. Hudsonius. Tail, a little shorter than the body, of tolerable breadth, and capable of a distichous arrangement. The whole body is clothed with a dense coat of rather long and soft fur. COLOUR. Fur on the back, dark plumbeous from the roots; on the sides, tipped with light gray. There is a narrow dark reddish line along the centre of the back, caused by the hairs on the dorsal line being tipped with reddish-brown and black. On the under surface the fur is plumbeous at the roots, and tipped with ashy white. The tufts on the ears are black; whiskers, black; a line of dark brown runs from the end of the nose, blending gradually with the lighter tint of the forehead; there is a light circle around the eye; sides of the nose, and lips, yellowish-white; upper surface of feet. gray. There is a slight and almost imperceptible black stripe about a line wide and three inches long, separating the colour of the sides from the ashy white tint of the under surface. The annulations in the hairs of the tail are somewhat indistinct: from the roots for nearly half their length they are grayish-white, are then black, and are broadly tipped with white. DIMENSIONS. Inches. Length of head and body, . . . . . . . . 7 Length of tail (vertebrae), . . . . . . . 4 3/4 Length of tail (including fur),. . . . . . 6 1/4 Height of ear posteriorly, . . . . . . . 3/8 Height of ear (including tufts), . . . . . 7/8 Palm and middle fore-claw, . . . . . . . 1 1/8 Sole and middle hind-claw, . . . . . . . 2 HABITS. We possess no information in regard to this animal farther than that it was obtained on the Rocky Mountains. It no doubt, like all the other small species of Squirrels which are closely allied with it (Richardsonii, Hudsonius, lanuginosus, &c.), feeds on the seeds of pines, and other coniferae. All these squirrels inhabit elevated regions of country, and in addition to their habit of climbing, have burrows in the ground, wherein they make their dormitories, and dwell in winter; whilst in summer they select the hollow of a tree, in which they construct their nests. Their note is peculiar, like chicharee chicharee repeated in quick succession, and differing from the qua qua quah note of the larger squirrels. By their habit of burrowing or living in holes in the ground, these small squirrels make an approach to the genus Tamias, or ground squirrels. GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION. The only specimen we have seen was obtained by Colonel FREMONT; it was procured on the Rocky Mountains, on his route by the south pass to California. GENERAL REMARKS. The tufts on the ears of this species are considerably larger than in any other known species of squirrel in our country, except Sciurus dorsalis, a beautiful new squirrel discovered in California by Mr. WOODHOUSE, and recently described by that gentleman, and in this respect bear a resemblance to those on the ears of the common Squirrel of Europe (Sciurus vulgaris); the tufts, however, of the latter are twice the length of those of S. Fremonti, being an inch long, whilst in the latter they are half an inch in length. These tufts, in the specimen, originate on the outer surface of the ear, near the base, and the edges of the ear are only covered with short hairs, whilst in the European species not only the posterior portions, but also the upper edges, or rims of the ear, are thickly haired, producing so large and thick a tuft that the animal at first sight appears to have an ear more than an inch long.
SCIURUS FULIGINOSUS.--BACH. [Sciurus carolionenisis fuliginosus (subspecies)] SOOTY SQUIRREL. [Gray Squirrel] PLATE CXLIX. FIG. 2. Sciuro Hudsonio paullo major; cauda nonnihil plana, et corpore multo breviore; colore plerumque supra nigro, subfusco-flavo variegato infra subfusco. CHARACTERS. A little larger than the Hudson's Bay Squirrel (S. Hudsonius); tail, flattish, and much shorter than the body; general colour, black above, grizzled with brownish-yellow; beneath, brownish. SYNONYME. SCIURUS FULIGINOSUS. Bach., Monograph of the genus Sciurus, Trans. Zool. Soc., London, August, 1838. DESCRIPTION. Head, short, and broad; nose, very obtuse; ears, short, and rounded, slightly clothed with hair; feet and claws, rather short and strong; tail, short, and flattened, but not broad, resembling that of Sciurus Hudsonius; the form of the body is like that of the Carolina gray Squirrel. COLOUR. The limbs externally, and feet, are black, obscurely grizzled with brownish-yellow; on the under parts, with the exception of the chin and throat, which are grayish, the hairs are annulated with brownish-orange and black; at the roots, they are grayish-white; the prevailing colour of the tail is black above, the hairs being brown at the base, some of them obscurely annulated with brown, and at the apex pale brown; on the under side of the tail, the hairs exhibit pale yellowish-brown annulations. DIMENSIONS. Inches. Lines. Length of head and body, . . . . . . . . 10 0 Length of tail (vertebrae), . . . . . . . 6 9 Length of tail (including fur), . . . . . . 8 6 Length of palm to point of middle fore-claw,. . 1 8 Length of heel, to point of longest nail,. . . 2 1 Height of ear posteriorly,. . . . . . . . 0 4 Length of fur on the back,. . . . . . . . 0 7 HABITS. This dusky looking species is found in low swampy situations, and is said to be very abundant in favourable localities. During high freshets, when the swamps are overflowed to the height of several feet, they are very active among the trees, leaping from branch to branch, indifferent about the waters beneath. They feed chiefly on pecan nuts, and are deemed by the French inhabitants of Louisiana to be the most savoury of all the Squirrels. GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION. We have heard of this species as existing only in Louisiana and Mississippi, and as being chiefly confined to the swamps. GENERAL REMARKS. We are under the impression that this Squirrel is subject to considerable variations in colour. We obtained, through the kindness of Col. WADE HAMPTON, a number of specimens of the different Squirrels existing along the shores of the Mississippi, and among them we found several examples of this species. Some of them were of much lighter colours than the one which we described. In Louisiana, they are often so dark in colour, as to be called by the French inhabitants le petit noir. The specimen from which our original description was made, was procured near New Orleans, on the 24th of March, 1837. It agrees in many particulars with a skin deposited in the late museum of Mr. PEALE at Philadelphia, which, with other specimens in that collection, is now probably lost for ever. Dr. HARLAN referred to it as S. rufiventer, but it did not agree with DESMAREST's description of that species, as we ascertained by comparing it. On examining the description Dr. HARLAN gave of the specimen to which he referred, we ascertained that instead of describing it himself, he had, with slight variations, translated DESMAREST's description.