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

Northern Pocket Gopher

Capt. Lewis, April 9, 1805--Capt. Clark walked on shore to-day and informed me on his return, that passing through the prarie he had seen an anamal that precisely resembled the burrowing squrril, accept in point of size, it being only about one third as large as the squirrel, and that it also burrows. I have observed in many parts of the plains and praries, the work of an anamal of which I could never obtain a view. their work resembles that of the salamander common to the sand hills of the States of South Carolina and Georgia, and like that anamal also it never appears above the ground. the little hillocks which are thrown up by these anamals have much the appearance of ten or twelve pounds of loose earth poared out of a vessel on the surface of the plain. in the state they leave them you can discover no whole through which they throw out this earth; but by removing the loose earth gently you may discover that the soil has been broken in a circle manner for about an inch and a half in diameter; where it appears looser than the adjacent surface, and is certain the place through which the earth has been thrown out, tho’ the operation is performed without leaving any visible aperture.

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