84 Franklin's Marmot Squirrel
SPERMOPHILUS FRANKLINII.--SABINE. [Sperm ophilus franklinii] FRANKLIN'S MARMOT SQUIRREL. [Franklin's Ground Squirrel] PLATE LXXXIV.--MALE and FEMALE. S. corpore super cervino ferrugineave creberrime nigro maculato subter albido, vultu ex nigro canescenti, cauda elongata cylindrica pilis albis nigro ter quatorve torquatis vestita.
CHARACTERS. Cheek pouches, the upper surface of the body spotted thickly with black, on a yellowish-brown ground, under surface grayish-white; face black and white, intimately and equally mixed; tail long, cylindrical, and clothed with hairs which are ringed alternately with black and white. SYNONYMES. ARCTOMYS FRANKLINII. Sabine. Linnean Transactions, Vol. 13, p. 19. ARCTOMYS FRANKLINII. Franklin's Journey, p. 662. ARCTOMYS FRANKLINII. Harlan's Fauna, p. 167. ARCTOMYS FRANKLINII. Godman, Nat. Hist. Vol. 2d p. 109. ARCTOMYS FRANKLINII. Richardson, F. B. Am. p. 168. pl. 12. DESCRIPTION. Franklin's Marmot is about the size of the Carolina Gray Squirrel, and resembles it in form, its ears however are shorter, and its tail, which is narrower, presents a less distichous appearance. The ears have an erect rounded flap, and although not as large as those of S. Douglassii, are prominent, rising above the fur considerably more than those of S. Richardsonii or S. Annulatus. The body is rather slender for this genus; eyes large and rather prominent; cheek pouches small; moustaches few and short. The legs are shorter than those of the squirrels, and stouter than those of S. Annulatus. The thumb has one joint, with a small nail; the second toe from the inside is the longest; the palms are naked. The soles of the hind feet are hairy for about two-thirds of their length from the heels. The claws are nearly straight being much less hooked than those of S. Annulatus. The hair is rather coarse, and the under fur not very dense. The tail is clothed with hair, but has on it no under fur. It is capable of a somewhat distichous arrangement, but as we are informed by Sir JOHN RICHARDSON, when this animal is pursued, the tail is cylindrical, the hairs standing out in every direction. The hind feet, when stretched out, reach to the middle of the tail. COLOUR. Incisors orange; eyes and whiskers, black; nails, dark-brown; the septum and naked margins of the nostrils, and margins of the lips are of a light flesh-colour; eyelids, white; below the nostrils, sides of face, chin, and throat, yellowish-white. Upper parts of the head to beyond the ears and neck, light brindled-gray, composed of brackish hairs tipped with white, without any admixture of brown. The hairs on the back, are at the roots, plumbeous, then brown, succeeded by a line of black, and finally tipped with brown, giving it on the back a brownish-speckled appearance. On the chest and inner surfaces of legs white, with a slight brownish tinge. The hairs on the tail are barred with black and white; they are light-coloured at the roots, then twice barred with black and white, and broadly tipped with white. Towards the extremity of the tail there is a broader black bar, the apical portion being white. When the tail is distichously arranged it presents two indistinct longitudinal stripes of black. DIMENSIONS. Inches. From point of nose to insertion of tail,. . . . . . 9 3/4 Tail (vertebrae), . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 3/4 To end of hair, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 3/4 From heel to end of middle claw, . . . . . . . . 2 Height of ear, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/4 HABITS. We possess but little information of the habits of several of the Spermophili of America. None of the species are found in the settled portions of our country, where opportunities are afforded the naturalist to observe and note down their habits; every one has undoubtedly an interesting history attached to its life, which yet remains to be collected and written. RICHARDSON observes of this species, that it lives in burrows in the sandy soil amongst the little thickets of brushwood that skirt the plains. That it is about three weeks later in its appearance in the spring than the Arctomys Richardsonii, probably from the snow lying longer on the shady places it inhabits, than on the open plains frequented by the latter. It runs on the ground with considerable rapidity, but has not been seen to ascend trees. It has a louder and harsher voice than the A. Richardsonii, more resembling that of Sciurus Hudsonius when terrified. Its food consists principally of the seeds of liguminous plants, which it can procure in considerable quantity as soon as the snow melts and exposes the crop of the preceding year. Mr. TOWNSEND, who observed it in Oregon, does not refer particularly to any habit differing from the above. GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION. This is a northern and western species; Dr. RICHARDSON having obtained it in the neighbourhood of Carlton House, and TOWNSEND near the Columbia River. GENERAL REMARKS. Although several different Spermophiles bear a strong resemblance to each other, we have not observed that this species has as yet been mistaken for any other, and it has as far as we can ascertain retained its name without change in the works of all new describers.