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Lewis & Clark as Naturalists
The Journals Lewis and Clark as Naturalists

Badger

Capt. Lewis, July 30, 1804--this day Joseph Fields killed a Braro [badger] as it is called by the French engages [ed. - these were hired men, often fur traders, who were experienced with handling boats on the Missouri and who were familiar with the back country; they are usually identified as a group separate from the Corps of Discovery]. this is a singular anamal not common to any part of the United States. it's weight is sixteen pounds. it is a carniverous anamal. on both sides of the uper jaw is fexed one long and sharp canine tooth. it's eye is small black and piercing.

Capt. Clark, July 30, 1804--Joseph Fields Killed and brought in an Anamale Called by the French Brarow, and by the Panies Cho car tooch this Anamale Burrows in the Ground and feeds on Flesh, (Prarie Dogs) Bugs & Vigatables. his Shape is like that of a Beaver, his head mouth &c. is like a Dogs with Short Ears, his Tail and Hair like that of a Ground Hog, and longer; and lighter. his Interals like the interals of a Hog, his Skin thick and loose, his Belly is White and the Hair Short, a white Streek from his nose to his Sholders. The toe nails of his fore feet is one Inch & 3/4 long, the hind feet Small and toes Crooked, his legs are short and when he moves Just sufficent to raise his body above the Ground He is of the Bear Species. We have his skin stuffed.

Capt. Clark, October 7, 1804--...in the evening I walked on an Island nearly in the middle of the river Called Grous Island, (the walls of a village on this island) one of the men killed a Shee Brarow, another man Killed a Black tail Deer, the largest Doe I ever Saw, (Black under her breast)

Capt. Clark, September 5, 1805--we made 4 Chiefs [to] whine we gave meadels & a few Small articles with Tobacco, the women brought us a few berries & roots to eat and the Principal Chief a Dressed Brarow, Otter & two Goat and Antilope Skins.

Capt. Clark, November 4, 1805--Killed a Deer and Several brant and duckes. [I saw a Brarow tamed at the 1st village to day]

Capt. Lewis, February 26, 1806--the Braro so called by the French engages is an animal of the civit genus and much resembles the common badger.  this is an inhabitant of the open plains of the Columbia as they are of those of the Missouri but are sometimes also found in the woody country.  they burrow in the hard grounds of the plains with surprising ease and dexterity an[d] will cover themselves in the ground in a very few minutes.  they have five long fixed nails on each foot; those of the forefeet are much the longest; and one of those on each hind foot is double like those of the beaver.  they weigh from 14 to 18 lbs.  the body is reather long in proportion to it's thickness.  the forelegs remarkably large and muscular and are formed like the ternspit dog.  they are short as are also the hind legs.  they are broad across the sholders and brest.  the neck short.  the head is formed much like the common fist dog only that the skull is more convex.  the mouth is wide and furnished with sharp streight teeth both above and below, with four sharp streight pointed tusks, two in the upper and two in the lower jaw.  the eyes are black and small.  whiskers are plased in four points on each side near the nose and on the jaws near the opening of the mouth.  the ears are very short wide and appressed as if they had ben cut off.  the apperture through them to the head is remarkably small.  the tail is about 4 inches long; the hair longest on it at it's junction with the body and becoming sorter towards it's extremity where it ends in an accute point.  the hairs of the body are much longer on the side and rump than any other part, which gives the body an apparent flatness, particularly when the animal rests on it's belley.  this hair is upwards of 3 inches in length particularly on the rump where it extends so far towards the point of the tail that it almost conceals the shape of that part and gives to the whole of the hinder part of the body the figure of an accute angled triangle of which the point of the tail forms the accute angle.  the small quantity of coarse fur which is intermixed with the hair is of a redish pale yellow.  the hair of the back, sides, upper part of the neck and tail, are of a redish light or pale yellow for about 2/3rds of their length from the skin, next black, and then tiped with white; forming a curious mixture of grey and fox-coloured red with a yellowish hue.  the belley flanks and breast are of the foxcoloured redish yellow.  the legs black.  the nails white.   the head on which the hair is short, is variagated with black and white.  a narrow strip of white commences on the top of the nose about 1/2 an inch from it's extremity and extends back along the center of the forehead and neck nearly to the sholders.  two stripes of black succeed the white on either side imbracing the sides of the nose, the eyes, and extends back as far as the ears.  two other spots of black of a ramboidal figure are placed on the side of the head near the ears and between it [them] and the opening of the mouth.  two black spots also immediately behind the ears.  the other parts of the head white.  this animal feeds on flesh, roots, bugs, and wild fruits.  it is very clumsy and runs very slow.  I have in two instances out run this animal and caught it.  in this respect they are not much more fleet than the porcupine.

 
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