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

North American Porcupine

Capt. Lewis, September 13, 1804--killed a bluewinged teal and a Porcupine; found it in a Cottonwood tree near the river on the Lard Shore. the leaves of the Cottonwood were much distroyed as were those of the Cottonwood trees in it’s neighbourhood. I therefore supposed that it fed on the folage of trees at this season, the flesh of this anamal is a pleasant and whoalsome food. the quills had not yet obtained their usual length. it has four long toes, before on each foot, and the same number behind with the addition of one short one on each hind foot on the inner side. the toes of the feet are armed with long black nails particularly the fore feet. they weigh from 15 to 20 lbs they resemble the slowth very much in the form of their hands, or fore feet. their teeth and eyes are like the bever.

Capt. Clark, September 13, 1804--Capt. Lewis Killed a Porcupin on a Cotton tree feeding on the leaves & bowers of the said tree.

Capt. Lewis, May 3, 1805--near the entrance of the river mentioned in the 10th course of this day, we saw an unusual number of Porcupines from which we determined to call the river after that anamal, and accordingly denominated it Porcupine river (ed. - now called the Poplar River).

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