AUDUBON, John James (1785-1851) Vol. I, Plate 9, Parry's Marmot Squirrel

AUDUBON, John James (1785-1851) Vol. I, Plate 9, Parry's Marmot Squirrel

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Painted by John James Audubon (1785-1851) with background likely by Victor Gifford Audubon (1809-1860)
Lithographed by J. T. Bowen &. Co.
Lithograph with hand color, paper dimensions: approximately 22 x 28 inches
From Vol. I, Part 2 of John James Audubon and John Bachman’s (1790-1875) The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America.
New York: V.G. Audubon, 1845-1848.

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The following passage is included in the accompanying description of Spermophilus Parryi, Richardson. Parry's Marmot Squirrel:

“The only account we have of this handsome spermophile is that given by its talented discoverer, who says of it,—

‘It is found generally in stony districts, but seems to delight chiefly in sandy hillocks amongst rocks, where burrows, inhabited by different individuals, may be often observed crowded together. One of the society is generally observed sitting erect on the summit of the hillocks, whilst the others are feeding in the neigbourhood. Upon the approach of danger, he gives the alarm, and they instantly betake themselves to their holes, remaining chattering, however, at the entrance until the advance of the enemy obliges them to retire to the bottom When their retreat is cut off, they become much terrified, and seeking shelter in the first crevice that offers, they not unfrequently succeed only in hiding the head and fore-part of the body, whilst the projecting tail is, as usual with them when under the influence of terror, spread out flat on the rock. Their cry in this season of distress strongly resembles the loud alarm of the Hudson's Bay squirrel, and is not very unlike the sound of a watchman's rattle. The Esquimaux name of this animal, Seek-Seek, is an attempt to express this sound. According to HEARNE, they are easily tamed, and are very cleanly and playful in a domestic state. They never come abroad during the winter. Their food appears to be entirely vegetable; 'heir pouches being generally observed to be filled, according to the season, with tender shoots of herbaceous plants, berries of the Alpine arbutus, and of other trailing shrubs, or the seeds of bents, grasses, and leguminous plants. They produce about seven young at a time."