Home Smithsonian: National Museum of Natural History Home
Lewis & Clark as Naturalists
The Journals Lewis and Clark as Naturalists

Western Gray Squirrel

Capt. Clark, October 26, 1805--our hunters killed five Deer, 4 verry large gray squirrels, a goose & Pheasent,

Capt. Lewis, February 25, 1806--The large grey squirrel appears to be a native of a narrow tract of country on the upper side of the mountains just below the grand falls of Columbia which is pretty well covered in many parts with a species of white oak. in short I beleive this squirrel to be coextensive with timber only, as we have not seen them in any part of the country where pine forms the majority of the timber, or in which the oak does not appear. this animal is much larger than the grey squirrel of our country it resembles it much in form and colours. it is as large as the fox squirrel of the Southern Atlantic states. the tail is reather longer than the whole length of the body and head the hair of which is long and tho’ inserted on all sides reispect the horizontal ones only. the eyes are black. whiskers black and long. the back, sides, head, tail and outer part of the legs are of a blue leadcoloured grey. the hair is short as that of the fox-squirrel but is much finer and intermixed with a proportion of fur. the natives make great use of these skins in forming their robes. this squirrel subsists principally on the acorn and filbird [filbert] which also grows abundantly in the oak country.

Capt. Lewis, April 16, 1806--Reubin Feilds returned in the evening and brought with him a large grey squ[i]rrel and two others of a kind I had never before seen. they are a size less than the grey squirrel common to the middle atlantic states and of a pided grey and yellowish brown colour, in form it resembles our grey squ[i]rrel precisely. I had them skined leaving the head and tail to them and placed in the sun to dry.

 
Smithsonian Institution
Copyright Notice
Privacy Notice