MAMMALS FOUND AT THE PRESENT TIME IN FRANKLIN
FAMILY SORECIDÆ -- SHEWS AND MOLES.
Genus Sorex -- The Shrews. There are one or two species of
shrews in the county, which I have not been able to identify.
FAMILY TALPIDÆ -- MOLES --GENUS SCALOPS.
Scalops aquaticus -- Common Mole. These animals are very
numerous, and are the only species I have observed here. If the star-
nosed mole exists here, I have not met with it.
Vespertilio noveboracensis -- Red Bat.
V. pruinosus -- Hoary Bat.
V. rufus -- Brown Bat. Bats are numerous here, and belong
mostly to the species named above.
CARNIVORA -- FAMILY FELIDÆ THE CATS -- GENUS LYNX.
Lynx rufus -- American Wild Cat. Occasionally there is a wild
cat seen in the county, but they are rare.
SUB-FAMILY VULPINÆ -- THE FOXES -- GENUS VULPES.
Vulpes fulvus -- Red Fox. It is only within the last ten or
fifteen years that the red fox has been observed in this county. Previously
to that time we had none but the common gray variety.
Vulpes Virginianus -- Gray Fox. These foxes are numerous;
probably as much so as they ever were.
FAMILY MUSTELIDÆ -- WEASEL FAMILY -- GENUS
Putorius noveboracensis -- Common Weasel. The common weasel,
probably the most rapacious, blood-thirsty and cruel of all carnivorous
animals, is still found here, though in small numbers. When they make an
attack upon the poultry or rats of a barn they continue to stay [should
read: slay] as
long as anything is left with life, unless prevented by fatigue or the
approach of daylight.
Putorius vison -- The Common Mink.
Putorius nigrescens -- Little Black Mink. These minks are both
common -- the former the most numerous. These animals are very destructive
to poultry, and therefore very unpopular with our good housewives.
SUB-FAMILY LUTRINÆ -- THE OTTERS.
Lutra Canadensis -- The Otter. It is barely possible that a
few of these animals still linger along White Water, though I have seen
none for many years.
SUB-FAMILY MELINÆ -- THE SKUNKS -- GENUS MEPHITES.
Mephites [should read: Mephitis] mephitica --
Skunk -- Polecat. Of the nine species of
skunk in America, we have but one; this one, however, is universally
conceded to be sufficient. The skunk, notwithstanding its horrid odor, is
really a pretty animal; but I apprehend will never be very popular. They
are much more numerous in this region than formerly, and seem to be
increasing yearly. The young kittens are very pretty little animals, and
make pleasant pets, provided they are not kept too long.
FAMILY URSIDÆ -- THE BEARS -- GENUS PROCYON.
Procyon lotor -- Raccoon. It is the general opinion of our
people that the raccoons are as numerous as they ever were, probably more
so; but as their skins are of little
value, they are not hunted as much as formerly, which may account for their
Ursus Americanus -- Black Bear. The last black bear was seen
here about thirty years ago. They were once very numerous. The prints of
their claws are yet plainly to be seen upon the smooth bark of hundreds
of beech trees in the forests.
FAMILY DIDELPHIDÆ -- THE OPOSSUM -- GENUS DIDELPHIS.
Didelphis Virginiana. -- Opossum. The opossum is still abundant.
There are but two species of opossum in the United States; one southern,
the other northern.
ORDER RODENTIA -- THE GNAWERS -- FAMILY SCIURIDÆ -- THE
SQUIRRELS -- GENUS SCIURUS.
Sciurus vulpinus. -- Fox Squirrel. About thirty years ago the
fox squirrel made its first appearance in the neighborhood of Brookville,
and has gradually increased in numbers until it has become the most
numerous of the larger varieties. It will not live in dense forests, but
prefers the points where there are but few trees, and the fields with
scattering trees having suitable cavities in which to make their nests.
These squirrels, if left unmolested, would become very tame, and probably
even make their homes about our houses and barns.
Sciurus Carolinensis. -- Gray Squirrel and Black Squirrel. My
friend Prof. Baird, of the Smithsonian Institute, [should read:
Institution] believes the gray and
black squirrels to belong both to the same species. I have more respect
for the opinions of Prof. Baird than any other naturalist with whom I
have had communication, and his opportunities have been much greater than
mine for forming a correct judgment in relation to this subject. Still
I am inclined to think he is mistaken. His opinion was made up by
comparing a large
number of dried skins -- mine by comparing fresh specimens of gray
and black squirrels. This comparison has led me to believe that there is
a difference in form between the black and gray. The black squirrel is
shorter and stouter than the gray, and it has seemed to me that their ears
are also shorter. They do not seem to be disposed to associate with the
gray. Between thirty and forty years ago, there were about one-sixth of
the squirrels in southeastern Indiana black; in north-eastern Indiana nearly
half of them were black. At this time there are no black squirrels to be
seen in southeastern Indiana, neither has there been for several years.
Occasionally gray squirrels are very abundant here; why then is it, if the
gray and black be the same, that we no longer find among them the latter?
Four years ago the gray squirrels migrated eastward, passing near Brookville,
still I neither saw or heard of a black one.
I have always believed the black to be a much wilder squirrel than the
gray -- and this will account for their having abandoned the densely
populated districts, while the gray still remains. It has been generally
understood that the farther north a particular species of an animal is
found, the lighter its color becomes; but if the black be a gray
squirrel this order of nature has been reversed, for the farther north I
have gone in this State the more black squirrels I have seen.
Sciurus Hudsonius. -- Mountain Squirrel --Chickaree. But a
single specimen of this squirrel has ever been observed in the county.
Pteromys volucella. -- Flying Squirrel. This beautiful little
squirrel is very numerous -- but, being nocturnal, is not often seen unless
it be sought in the holes of old rotten trees and stumps, where it lies
concealed during the day It is easily tamed.
Sciurus (tamias) striatus. -- Ground Squirrel -- Chipmunk. Very
numerous all over the woods and fields; it is probably more numerous than in
the early settlement of the country.
Arctomys monax. -- Woodchuck -- Ground-Hog. The ground-hog is
very numerous in the Whitewater valley; the gravelly terraces, wherever
covered with brushwood, they seem to prefer to all other situations. They
have been accused of preying upon domestic fowls, but I apprehend
Mus decumanus. -- Norway Rat. The brown or Norway rat is here,
as elsewhere, extremely numerous. It is one of the hardiest and most
energetic animals, constantly increasing in number notwithstanding the
utmost exertion of all its enemies, man inclusive. They first appeared at
Brookville in the summer of 1827. At that time the black rat was numerous;
it was, however, but a year or two after the Norway rat appeared, until they
were all gone -- all eaten up by this predatory stranger.
The brown rat has been wrongly named Norway rat; they came originally
from Persia to Europe, from whence they have spread to the uttermost ends
of all civilized countries.
Mus rattus. -- Black Rat. As above stated, these have all been
destroyed by the Norway rat.
Mus musculus. -- Common Mouse. The common house mouse is
familiar to everyone, and is common everywhere.
Hesperomys leucopus. -- This mouse is very common in the woods.
They feed upon cockle-burs, stores of which
they often lay up in the deserted nest of the song-sparrow and other
Arvicola riparius. -- Meadow Mouse. Common in the fields and
Fiber zibethicus. -- Musk Rat. Very common along the rivers,
creeks and canal. It is the fur of this animal which is sold to the ladies
under the name of "French Mink."
Hystrix Hudsonius. -- Porcupine. Now very rare.
FAMILY LEPORIDÆ -- THE HARES -- GENUS LEPUS.
Lepus sylvaticus -- Gray Rabbit, or Hare. Of the twelve or
thirteen species of hare in the United States, we have but a single one,
the common gray rabbit, or more properly, hare, for there are no rabbits
natives of America; those we have here were imported from Europe, and are
ORDER RUMINANTIA -- FAMILY CERVIDÆ -- GENUS CERVUS.
Cervus Virginianus -- Virginia Deer, Red Deer. Formerly very
abundant, but I presume there is not now a single one living in the
The above list I think comprises all the Mammals now to be found in the
1869 Table of Contents
Geology Library, Indiana