HotFreeBooks.com
Natural History of the Mammalia of India and Ceylon
by Robert A. Sterndale
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

SIZE.—Head and body, from 12 to 15 inches; tail, from 11 to 13. Weight, about 3 lbs.

This is a well known rat, but it is not common in Calcutta, although supposed to be so. People frequently mistake very large specimens of the common brown house-rat (Mus decumanus) for this animal, which, Blyth remarks, is rare here. Jerdon states that it is common in the fort of Madras, where he killed many, some of large size. When assailed it grunts like a pig, hence its Telegu name Pandi-koku, from which the word bandicoot is derived. McMaster states that the bandicoot, though so formidable in appearance, does not show so good a fight as an ordinary English rat, being a sluggish and cowardly animal; and though, from its size and weight, it takes a good deal of worrying, it seldom does much in self defence, and any moderately good dog can kill it with ease. It is however a most destructive animal, doing much damage to granaries, gardens, and even poultry-yards. In some parts of the country, as for instance Fort St. George in Madras, Government used to pay a reward of one anna for every bandicoot killed within the walls.

SUB-FAMILY CRICETINAE.

CHARACTER.—Molars tuberculate; infra-orbital opening sub-typical, not much narrowed below, and the perpendicular plate little developed; large internal cheek pouches.—Alston.

GENUS CRICETUS—THE HAMSTERS.

Form thick-set, with short limbs and tail, the latter sparsely haired, not scaly. "Skull with marked but rounded supra-orbital ridges continued into temporal ridges; coronoid process high and falcate" (Alston). The incisors are plain; the molars tuberculated when young, but in the old animal the tubercles are worn down and exhibit laminae. They are very nearly related to the true rats, but differ conspicuously in the possession of large cheek pouches—like those of the pouched monkeys, into which they stuff the grain they carry to their burrows. The hind-limbs have five toes, the fore-feet four only, the thumb being represented by a wart. The European hamster is a very destructive little animal, from its numbers and the quantity of grain it stores away in its burrows. They have two sets of burrows for summer and winter, the latter being the deepest and most complicated. They pass the winter in a torpid state, but make up for it by their activity in the summer months. The young are produced twice in the year and in number varying from six to eighteen, and they develop very rapidly. Their eyes open in about a week, and when a fortnight old the parents drive them off to shift for themselves. The European hamster is a most savage little creature, and has been known to attack even a red-hot bar, and hold on in spite of the pain.



* * * * *

The two following are dwarf species—Cricetulus of some authors:—[22]

[Footnote 22: Dallas mentions (Cassell's 'Nat. Hist.') a species from Kumaon, Cricetus songarus.]

NO. 330. CRICETUS PHAEUS. The Persian Hamster.

HABITAT.—Yarkand, Gilgit, Persia.

DESCRIPTION.—Cinereous above, white below; the colour varies from pure ashy grey to grey with an isabelline tinge.—Blanford.

SIZE.—Head and body, about 4 inches; tail, 1-1/4 inches.

NO. 331. CRICETUS FULVUS. The Sandy Hamster.

HABITAT.—Yarkand, Gilgit.

DESCRIPTION.—Colour above light sandy brown to sandy grey; no band down the back; lower parts, feet, and tail white; fur very soft, fully half an inch long in the middle of the back in some specimens. Rather larger than the last species. (See Blanford's 'Second Yarkand Mission,' p. 45.)

SIZE.—Head and body about 4-1/2 inches; tail about 1-1/2 inches.

SUB-FAMILY MURINAE.

CHARACTER.—Molars tuberculate, at least in youth; infra-orbital opening typical; pterygoid fossae lengthened; auditory bullae moderate; cheek pouches absent or very small; tail scaly, more or less naked, cosmopolitan (Alston). Three molars in each jaw, the first of which is the largest and the hinder one the least. I think that, with the exception of the islands of the Pacific Ocean, some of the members of this family are known in every quarter of the globe.

GENUS MUS.

"Muzzle pointed; eyes prominent; ears rather large, sub-naked; fur soft (rarely mixed with spines); pollex rudimentary; claws short; tail moderate or long, scaly, with scattered hairs; no cheek pouches; skull elongate, narrow; temporal ridges nearly parallel; palate compressed; incisive foramina long; auditory bullae moderately large; coronoid process high, falcate; incisors rarely grooved; molars with transverse ridges, each composed in youth of three tubercles" (Alston).

NO. 332. MUS RATTUS. The Black Rat (Jerdon's No. 175).

NATIVE NAMES.—Kala-mus, Kala-chuha, Hindi; Kala-meeyo, Singhalese.

HABITAT.—Chiefly Europe, but is said to be of south Asian origin; it is stated to occur in towns near the sea-coast in India, and Kellaart obtained it in Trincomalee only.

DESCRIPTION.—Greyish-black above, dark ashy beneath, or, as Kellaart describes it, "above blackish-brown, along the dorsal line nearly black; sides paler, some of the hairs with pale fulvous tips; beneath and inside of limbs fur very short, of a uniform sooty ash colour, separated from the colour above by a distinct line of demarcation; ears large, rounded, slightly fulvous externally" ('Prodromus Faunae Zeylanicae,' p. 58).



SIZE.—Head and body about 6-1/2 to 7-1/2 inches; tail, 7-1/2 to 8 inches.

Jerdon says of this rat that the muzzle is sharper than that of the brown rat; the ears are more oval; it is lighter in its make, and has much longer hair.

Whether this rat be, as Jerdon seems to suspect, imported into India in ships or not, it is generally supposed to have had its origin in southern Asia, and is almost identical with the Egyptian rat (M. Alexandrinus). It was the common rat of England, and indeed of northern Europe, whence it was expelled by its formidable rival, the brown rat, before which it has gradually receded, and it is seldom found now in England.

NO. 333. MUS DECUMANUS. The Brown Rat (Jerdon's No. 176).

NATIVE NAMES.—Ghur-ka-chuha, Hindi; Demsa-indur, Bengali; Manei-ilei, Canarese; Gaval-meeyo, Singhalese.

HABITAT.—Throughout India, Ceylon, and in some parts of Burmah.

DESCRIPTION.—Fur greyish-brown, mixed with tawny above, with longer piles of a dark colour, almost black; ears round; tail generally longer than head and body, scaly, with short bristles at the margins of the rings.

SIZE.—Head and body, from 8 to 10 inches; tail, from 6 to 11 inches.

The brown rat of India is identical with that of Europe, most naturalists being now agreed that it originally came from the East. It was supposed by Pallas that the brown rat crossed over into Russia about the year 1727. When frightened by an earthquake, numbers swam over the Volga from countries bordering on the Caspian Sea. It seems to have driven out the black rat before it wherever it made its appearance. In England it was introduced by shipping about the middle of the last century, and has since then increased to such an extent as to swarm over the whole country, and render the old English black rat a comparatively rare animal. From its ferocity and fecundity the brown rat is a veritable pest; if it cannot beat a retreat from an enemy it will show most determined fight, and in large numbers will attack and kill even men. A story is related by Robert Stephenson, the great engineer, that in a coal-pit in which many horses were employed, the rats, allured by the grain, had gathered in large numbers. On the pit being closed for a short time, and the horses being brought up, the first man who descended on the re-opening of the work was killed, and devoured by the starving rats. Similar stories have been told of men in the sewers of Paris. In the horse slaughterhouses at Montfaucon in Paris, the rats swarm in such incredible numbers that the carcases of horses killed during the day would be picked clean to the bone during the night; sometimes upwards of thirty horses would be so devoured. This shows the carnivorous tendencies of these abominable pests. I confess to a general love for all animals, but I draw the line at rats. There is something repulsive about one of these creatures, and a wicked look about his large protruding eye, like a black glistening bead, and his ways are not pleasant; instead of keeping, as he ought, to sweet grain and pleasant roots, he grubs about for all the carrion and animal matter he can get.

I find there is no bait so enticing to the brown rat as a piece of chicken or meat of any kind. I have heard stories of their attacking children, and even grown-up people when asleep, but I cannot vouch for the truth of this beyond what once happened to myself. I was then inhabiting a house which swarmed with these creatures, and one night I awoke with a sharp pain in my right arm. Jumping up, I disturbed a rat, who sprang off the bed, and was chased and killed by me. I found he had given me a nip just below the elbow. I once had a most amusing rat-hunt in the house I now occupy. I had then just taken it over on the part of the Government, in 1868. The whole building is floored with polished marble, which, being new, was like looking-glass. I found an enormous rat, which I took for a bandicoot, in one of the bath-rooms, and, shutting him in for a while, I closed the doors of a very large room adjoining, which was quite empty, and then turned my friend in with a small black-and-tan terrier. The scrimmage that ensued was most laughable, as both rat and dog kept slipping and sliding all over the place. At last the former was pinned in a corner, where he made a most determined stand, and left several marks before he died. They seldom now come so high as the third story, but we had two or three last year which dug a hole through a brick wall into my study, and they were surreptitiously disposed of unknown to my eldest little girl, whose passionate love for every living creature made her take even the rats under her protection, and one of them would come out every morning in the verandah to be fed by her with crumbs and grain. This one was spared for a while, but I was not sorry to find one day that it had fallen into a tub of water in a bath-room and was drowned.

The brown rat breeds several times in the year, and has from ten to fourteen at a time, and it is to be hoped that there is considerable mortality amongst the infants. I have never kept rats as pets, but have noticed amongst mice a tendency on the part of the mother to devour her offspring. I have no doubt that this also is the case with the brown rat, and aids in keeping down its numbers. It is stated that they will attack, kill, and eat each other. The Rev. J. G. Wood remarks in his Natural History: "From some strange cause the male rats far outnumber the females, the proportion being about eight of the former to three or four of the latter. This disproportion of the sexes may possibly be caused by the cannibalistic habits of the rat, the flesh of the female being more tender than that of the opposite sex. Whatever may be the cause, it is clear that the wider increase of these creatures is greatly checked by the comparative paucity of females." During the late siege of Paris by the Germans, amongst the various articles of food which necessity brought into use, rats held a high place as a delicacy. It is a difficult matter to stop the burrowing of rats; the best plan is to fill the holes with Portland cement mixed with bits of bottle glass broken in small pieces. It is said that quicklime will temporarily prevent rats from entering a hole, as the lime burns their feet. A friend of mine lately told me of some wonderful Japanese bird-lime which he uses. It is spread on a board, and will retain any rat that puts even one foot on it. An albino variety is common, and is sold for pets. Rats are partial to certain scents, and some are consequently used by trappers. In Cooley's 'Cyclopaedia' the following receipts are given:—

1. Powdered cantharides steeped in French brandy. It is said that rats are so fond of this that if a little be rubbed on the hands they may be handled with impunity.

2. Powdered assafoetida 8 grains, oil of rhodium 2 drams, oil of aniseed 1 dram, oil of lavender 1/2 dram. Mix by agitation.

3. Oil of aniseed 1/2 ounce, tincture assafoetida 1/4 ounce.

4. Oil of aniseed 1/4 ounce, nitrous acid 2 to 3 drops, musk (triturated with a little sugar) 1 grain.

These scents are not only rubbed on traps, but a few drops are mixed with the various rat poisons, of which perhaps the most efficacious is phosphorous paste.

NO. 334. MUS ANDAMANENSIS. The Andaman Rat.

HABITAT.—The Andaman and Nicobar islands.

DESCRIPTION.—A little darker on the back than Mus decumanus, paler on the sides, and dull white below. "The long piles are at once distinguished by their flattened spinous character, which is also slightly the case in M. rattus, though much less conspicuously than in the present species. It would appear to be a burrower in the ground" (Blyth). Ears round as in the brown rat.

SIZE.—Head and body, about 8 inches; tail the same.

NO. 335. MUS ROBUSTULUS. The Burmese Common Rat.

HABITAT.—British Burmah.

DESCRIPTION.—Dark-brown above, under-parts whitish, stoutly formed, with tail not quite so long as head and body; feet conspicuously white.

SIZE.—Head and body, about 6 inches; tail, a little shorter.

Mr. Mason remarks of this rat that they are only second to the white ants for the mischief they perpetrate. "They burrow in the gardens, and destroy the sweet potatoes; they make their nests in the roofs by day, and visit our houses and larders by night. They will eat into teak drawers, boxes, and book-cases, and can go up and down anything but glass. In the province of Tonghoo they sometimes appear in immense numbers before harvest, and devour the paddy like locusts. In both 1857 and 1858 the Karens on the mountains west of the city lost all their crops from this pest." They seem to migrate in swarms, and cross rivers by swimming. Mr. Cross captured one out of a pair he observed swimming the Tenasserim river at a place where it is more than a quarter of a mile wide. M. Berdmorei is the same as this species.

* * * * *

The following three are Burmese rats collected by Dr. Anderson during the Yunnan Expedition, and are new species named by him:—

NO. 336. MUS SLADENI. Sladen's Rat.

HABITAT.—Kakhyen hills; Ponsee at 3500 feet.

DESCRIPTION.—Head rather elongated; snout somewhat elongate; muzzle rather deep; ears large and rounded, sparsely clad with short hairs; feet well developed, hinder ones rather strong; claws moderately long and sharp; the feet pads markedly developed, indicating an arboreal habit of life; tail slightly exceeding length of head and body, coarsely ringed, there being three rings to each one-tenth of an inch; the hairs sparse and brown; general colour of upper surface reddish-brown, more rufous than brownish, palest on the head, many hairs with broad yellow tips; cheeks greyish-rufous; chin, throat, and chest whitish, also the remaining under-parts, but with a tinge of yellowish; ears and tail pale brownish. (Abridged from Anderson's 'Anat. and Zool. Res.' p. 305.)

SIZE.—Head and body of one, about 6.30 inches; tail, 7.20 inches.

Dr. Anderson says this species is closely allied to Hodgson's Mus nitidus, but its skull is less elongated, with a shorter facial portion, with very much shorter nasals, and with a more abruptly defined frontal contraction than either in M. nitidus or M. rufescens so called. He adds that this appears to be both a tree and a house rat.

NO. 337. MUS RUBRICOSA. The Small Red Rat of the Kakhyen Hills.

HABITAT.—Kakhyen hills and the Burma-Chinese frontier at Ponsee, and in the houses of the Shan Chinese at Hotha.

DESCRIPTION.—"Snout moderately pointed and long; ears small, and somewhat pointed; hind foot long and narrow; claws moderately long, compressed and sharply pointed; upper surface dark rusty brown, darkest on the middle and back, and palest on the muzzle, head and shoulder; on the sides and lower part of shoulder the reddish brown tends to pass into greyish; feet greyish; the sides of the snout greyish; all the under-parts silvery grey tending to white, without any trace of rufous, or but with a very faint yellowish blush; the tail, dull brown, is somewhat shorter than the body and head, and it is coarsely ringed, 2-1/2 rings to one-tenth of an inch, the hair being short, sparse, and dark brown" ('Anat. and Zool. Res.' p. 306).

SIZE.—Head and body, 5.70 inches; tail, 5.15 inches.

NO. 338. MUS YUNNANENSIS. The Common House Rat of Yunnan.

HABITAT.—Yunnan, at Ponsee; Hotha and Teng-yue-chow.

DESCRIPTION.—"Muzzle rather short and broad; ear large and rounded, its height considerably exceeding the distance between the inner canthus and the front of the muzzle, sparsely clad with short hairs; feet well developed; hind foot moderately long; pads prominent; claws compressed, strong, curved, and sharp; tail coarsely ringed, three rings to one-tenth of an inch; upper surface dark rich brown, with intermixed pale hairs, with broad brown tips, the sides of the face below the moustachial area, chin, throat, and all the under-parts yellowish washed with rufous; the ears and tail dusky brown; feet pale yellowish, and more or less brownish above; the tail varies in length, but is generally longer than the body and head, although it may occasionally fall short of that length" ('Anat. and Zool. Res.' pp, 306, 307).

SIZE.—Head and body, 5.70 inches; tail, 5.65 inches. An adult female had a much longer tail.

NO. 339. MUS INFRALINEATUS. The Striped-bellied Rat (Jerdon's No. 178).

HABITAT.—Madras; Bustar forests.

DESCRIPTION.—"Above, the fur fulvous, with the shorter hairs lead coloured; throat, breast, and belly pure white, with a central pale fulvous brown streak; tail slightly hairy."—Jerdon.

SIZE.—Head and body, 5-1/2 inches; tail, not quite 5 inches; another about 5 inches; tail, 4-1/4 inches.

Jerdon calls this a field rat in his popular name for it, but I think that the term should be restricted to the Nesokia or true field and earth-burrowing rats. He is of opinion that Gray's Mus fulvescens from Nepal is the same, the description tallying to some extent, concluding with: "in one specimen a central yellow streak," i.e. on the belly.

NO. 340. MUS BRUNNEUS. The Tree Rat (Jerdon's. No. 179).

HABITAT.—India and Ceylon. The common house rat of Nepal.

DESCRIPTION.—Above rusty brown; below rusty, more or less albescent; extremities pale, almost flesh-coloured; ears rather long; head rather elongated; tail equal to and sometimes exceeding head and body.

SIZE.—Head and body, from 8-1/2 to 9-1/2 inches; tail, from 9 to 9-1/2 inches.

Jerdon states that this rat, which Dr. Gray considered identical with M. decumanus (see 'Ann. and Mag. Nat. Hist.' vol. xv. 1845, p. 267), "is to be found throughout India, not habitually living in holes, but coming into houses at night; and, as Blyth remarks, often found resting during the day on the jhil-mil or venetian blinds. It makes a nest in mango-trees or in thick bushes and hedges. Hodgson calls it the common house rat of Nepal, and Kellaart also calls it the small house rat of Trincomalee." It is probable that this is the rat which used to trouble me much on the outskirts of the station of Nagpore. It used to come in at night, evidently from outside, for the house was not one in which even a mouse could have got shelter, with masonry roof, and floors paved with stone flags. Kellaart evidently considered it as distinct from M. decumanus, which he stated to be rare in houses in the town of Trincomalee, though abundant in the dockyard.

NO. 341. MUS RUFESCENS. The Rufescent Tree Rat (Jerdon's No. 180).

NATIVE NAMES.—Gachua-indur, Bengali; Ghas-meeyo, Singhalese.

HABITAT.—India generally; Ceylon.

DESCRIPTION.—Fur above pale yellowish-brown; under fur lead coloured, mixed with longer piles of stiff, broad, plumbeous black tipped hairs; head long; muzzle narrow; whiskers long and black; ears large, subovate, slightly clad with fine hairs; eyes large; incisor teeth yellow; feet brownish above, but the sides and toes are whitish; tail longer than head and body.

SIZE.—Head and body, from 5-1/2 to 7-1/2 inches; tail from 6-1/2 to 8-1/2 inches.

This is M. flavescens of Elliot, and is so noticed in Kellaart's 'Prodromus.' He calls it "the white-bellied tree-rat of Ceylon," and he states that it lives on trees or in the ceiling of houses in preference to the lower parts. Sir Walter Elliot observed it chiefly in stables and out-houses at Dharwar. According to Buchanan-Hamilton it makes its nests in cocoanut-trees and bamboos, bringing forth five or six young in August and September. "They eat grains, which they collect in their nests, also young cocoanuts. They enter houses at night, but do not live there." Kellaart's M. tetragonurus is a variety of this, if not identical.

NO. 342. MUS NIVEIVENTER. The White-bellied House Rat (Jerdon's No. 181).

HABITAT.—The lower Himalayan ranges.

DESCRIPTION.—"Above blackish-brown, shaded with rufous; below entirely pure white, tail and all."—Blyth.

SIZE.—Head and body, 5-1/4 to 7 inches; tail, 6 to 7-1/2 inches.

Hodgson stated this to be a house rat in Nepal, but not very common. Jerdon found it common at Darjeeling. Specimens have been received from Mussoorie.

NO. 343. MUS NITIDUS. The Shining Brown Rat (Jerdon's No. 182).

HABITAT.—Nepal; Darjeeling.

DESCRIPTION.—Dusky brown above, dusky hoary below. According to Hodgson it is "distinguished for its smooth coat or pelage, wherein the long hairy piles are almost wanting. It is a house rat, like M. niveiventer, but much rarer, and frequents the mountains rather than the valleys." The long hairs are 11/16 inch in length, horny at the base, with black tip, the short fur ashy, with rufous tips.

SIZE.—Head and body, 6-1/2 inches; tail 7-1/4 inches.

Blyth writes of this species ('J. A. S. B.' vol. xxxii. 1863, p. 343): "We have several specimens of what I take to be this rat from Darjeeling. They are especially distinguished by the fineness and softness of the fur. One specimen only, of eight from Darjeeling, which I refer to this species, has the lower parts pure white, abruptly defined."

There is a smaller rat, only four inches in length, which agrees exactly with the above, which Hodgson named M. horietes. It is not mentioned in Blyth's Catalogue, but it has not been overlooked by Blyth, as Jerdon's remarks would lead one to suppose, for in the 'Memoir on the Rats and Mice in India,' by the former, in the 'J. A. S. B.' vol. xxxii. for 1863, it is entered with a quotation from Hodgson.

NO. 344. MUS CAUDATIOR. The Chestnut Rat (Jerdon's No. 183).

HABITAT.—The lower Eastern Himalayas, i.e., Nepal, Darjeeling, &c.; also in Burmah, Lower Pegu, and Martaban.

DESCRIPTION.—"Above a fine bright cinnamon colour, with inconspicuous black tips; the under-parts white, which is abruptly divided from the cinnamon hue above" (Blyth). Sometimes yellowish-white (Jerdon). Muzzle sharp; ears and tail long.

SIZE.—Head and body, about six inches; tail, 7-3/4 inches.

According to Blyth the Nepal specimens are darker than those from Burmah, which he says "differs only from the Nepalese animal of Mr. Hodgson by having the upper parts entirely of a bright cinnamon colour."

NO. 345. MUS CONCOLOR. The Common Thatch Rat of Pegu.

HABITAT.—Upper and Lower Burmah, Malayan peninsula.

DESCRIPTION.—I have been unable to trace any accurate description of this rat, which Blyth says "conducts from the long-tailed arboreal rats to the ordinary house mice." In his 'Catalogue of the Mammals of Burmah,' published in the 'Jour. Asiatic Soc. Beng.' for 1875, he remarks that "it requires to be critically examined in the fresh state." In the 'J. A. S. B.,' vol. xxviii. p. 295, he describes a young one as dark greyish mouse colour; but this is not reliable, as the young rats and mice change colour as they attain full growth.[23]

[Footnote 23: Since writing the above, Dr. Anderson has kindly allowed me to examine the specimens of Mus concolor in the museum, and in the adult state they are considerably more rufescent. In one specimen, allowing for the effects of the spirit, the fur was a bright rufescent brown; but, whatever be the tint of the prevailing colour, it pervades the whole body, being but slightly paler on the under-parts. Size, about 4 inches; tail, about 4-1/2 inches.—R. A. S.]

NO. 346. MUS PALMARUM. The Nicobar Tree Rat.

HABITAT.—Nicobar Islands.

NO. 347. MUS CEYLONUS.

HABITAT.—Ceylon.

DESCRIPTION.—Fur soft, lead colour; hair of upper parts tipped with dark fawn and black; ears large, naked; whiskers long, black; tail longer than the head and body, scaly.

SIZE.—Head and body, 4-3/4 inches; tail, 6 inches.

"This small rat is found in out-houses in the cinnamon gardens at Colombo. I have no reason to think it to be the young of the former species (M. decumanus); the teeth were well developed; the darker colour and long tail will easily distinguish the species from other Colombo rats" (Kellaart). The character of the molar teeth is all that can be depended on in the foregoing description, and this may require further investigation. The young of rats and mice are always darker than the adults, and the tail is longer in proportion.

* * * * *

The following are doubtful species:—

NO. 348. MUS PLURIMAMMIS. Jerdon's No. 177.

This, which Blyth considered a good species, is, I am informed, referable with M. Taraiyensis and M. Morungensis to Gray's Nesokia Bengalensis. The type and drawing of it are in the British Museum.

NO. 349. MUS AEQUICAUDALIS.

of Hodgson, described in Horsfield's Catalogue as pure dark brown above, with a very slight cast of rufescent in a certain aspect; underneath from the chin to the vent, with interior of thighs, yellowish-white; ears nearly an inch long; head proportionately long ('Ann. and Mag. Nat. Hist.' new series, iii. p. 203). This, with Blyth's M. nemoralis, seems identical with M. brunneus.

Mus arboreus of Horsfield's Catalogue is Mus rufescens. It remains to be seen whether there is sufficient difference between M. rufescens and M. niveiventer to warrant the separation of the latter as a distinct species.

* * * * *

The following species lead on to the mice—beginning with the long-tailed arboreal species, Vandeleuria of Gray, which connect the arboreal rats with the house mice.

The characteristics of Vandeleuria are: upper incisors triangular, grooved in front; ears hairy; fur soft, with long bristles interspersed; long tail, sparsely haired; hind feet very long, slender; soles bald beneath; toes .45 long, slender, compressed, the pads much more strongly developed than in ground mice; the inner and outer toes with a small flattened nail.

NO. 350. MUS OLERACEUS. The Long-tailed Tree Mouse (Jerdon's No. 184).

NATIVE NAMES.—Marad-ilei, Canarese; Meina-yelka, Telegu of the Yanadees (Jerdon).

HABITAT.—Throughout India from north to south, but has not been reported from Ceylon. In Burmah Dr. Anderson found it in the valley of the Nampoung, a frontier stream dividing Burmah from China.

DESCRIPTION.—Upper surface rich rufous or chestnut red, paling to brown on the ears and muzzle before the eyes; under-parts white, with a yellowish tinge; feet pale brown, shading off into white on the toes; under surface of feet yellowish; tail brownish or dusky with grey hairs; it tapers to a point, finely ringed; sparsely haired between the rings, the hairs more numerous and longer towards the tips. The length of the head, according to Dr. Anderson, whose description ('Anat. and Zool. Res.' p. 313) is more complete than Jerdon's, is about one-third the length of the body; the muzzle is moderately long and slightly contracted behind the moustachial area; eyes large; ears ovate, sparsely clad.

SIZE.—Head and body, from 2-1/2 to 3 inches; tail one-half longer than the combined length of body and head.

Jerdon says of this pretty little mouse that "it is most abundant in the south of India, where it frequents trees, and very commonly palm-trees, on which it is said to make its nest generally. It, however, occasionally places its nest in the thatch of houses, on beams, &c. It is very active, and from its habits difficult to procure" ('Mammals of India,' p. 202). According to Sykes it constructs its nest of oleraceous herbs in the fields, and Hodgson states it to tenant woods and coppices in Nepal.

NO. 351. MUS NILAGIRICUS. The Neilgherry Tree Mouse (Jerdon's No. 185).

HABITAT.—Ootacamund.

DESCRIPTION.—"Above deep but bright chestnut brown, beneath bright fawn yellow, with a distinct line of demarcation between the two colours; head rather elongated; ears long, oval; tail somewhat hairy."—Jerdon.

SIZE.—Head and body, 3-1/2 inches; tail, 5 inches.

This tree mouse was discovered and named by Dr. Jerdon. He says: "The first I observed was brought into the house by a cat. I afterwards, on two or three occasions, found the nest, a mass of leaves and grass, on shrubs and low trees, from four to five feet from the ground, and on one occasion it was occupied by at least eight or ten apparently full-grown mice."

NO. 352. MUS BADIUS. The Bay Tree Mouse.

HABITAT.—The valley of the Sittang, Burmah.

DESCRIPTION.—"Similar to M. oleraceus, but with the eye fully twice as large, and black whiskers; colour of the upper parts a more rufous chestnut or cinnamon hue, of the lower parts white, almost pure."—Blyth.

SIZE.—Head and body, 3 inches; tail, 4-3/8 inches.

NO. 353. MUS GLIROIDES. The Cherrapoonjee Tree Mouse.

HABITAT.—Khasia hills.

DESCRIPTION.—Fur exceedingly dense and fine, of a light brown, tinged with fawn; the basal two-thirds of the piles are dusky ash coloured; the lower parts are white, very faintly tinged with fawn; the white purest about the lips and chin; whiskers long; feet large and sparsely clad with white hairs; a distinct brown mark on each hind foot reaching almost to the division of the toes; ears smallish, ovoid, naked.

SIZE.—Head and body, 2 inches; tail (?) mutilated.

Blyth says this animal has much of the aspect of the European dormouse (Myoxus avellanarius), but nothing is said about its dentition, which would at once settle the question whether the young specimen with its imperfect tail were a true Mus or a species of Myoxus.[24]

[Footnote 24: See Appendix A for description and dentition of Myoxus.]

NO. 354. MUS PEGUENSIS. The Pegu Tree Mouse.

HABITAT.—The Sittang valley, Burmah.

DESCRIPTION.—Fulvescent olive brown on the upper parts, yellowish-white below; whiskers remarkably long; the tail very long and conspicuously haired towards the tip; more so, Blyth remarks, than any other mouse, especially when held up to the light.

SIZE.—Head and body, 3-1/8 inches; tail, 3-7/8; in one specimen, 4-1/2 inches.

* * * * *

We now come to the terrestrial or house mice.

NO. 355. MUS URBANUS. The Common Indian Mouse (Jerdon's No. 186).

NATIVE NAMES.—Lengtia-indur, Bengali; Mesuri, Musi, Chuhi, Hindi.

HABITAT.—Throughout India and Ceylon.

DESCRIPTION.—Somewhat resembling the English mouse, but with very much longer, coarser tail, larger eyes, and smaller ears; dusky reddish-brown above, somewhat paler below; the feet paler still, whitish in some; the tail nude, thick at base, longer by an inch than the head and body, and of a dark brown colour. The young are more dusky.

SIZE.—Head and body, about 2 to 3 inches; tail, 3 to 4 inches.

I have kept these mice in confinement for considerable periods, and have had many opportunities of studying their habits of late. During many years' residence in the Currency Office, I never once found a mouse in my private quarters on the third story, although I frequently observed them in the vaults and strong rooms on the ground floor. During my absence at Simla in 1880 my quarters were unoccupied, as the Public Works Department were giving the building a thorough repair. It was then, I suppose, a few of the mice from the ground floor were driven upstairs, and, being unmolested by us, as we liked to see the little things playing about, they increased to a most uncomfortable extent within eight months. I failed to discover their breeding places, though I suspect they made much use of a large doll's-house for the purpose, for on taking out the front staircase, under which the bells of the establishment were hung, I found a nest of torn paper, and I caught two young ones in one of the rooms. Some of them came out every night whilst we were at dinner, and paid a visit to a rose-headed parraquet (Palaeornis rosa), mounting up on Polly's perch, and sitting down to supper in the tin receptacles for food at each end. She generally treated them with silent contempt, or gave a snappish little peck if they were too familiar; sometimes, when they were too sky-larky, she retreated to her ring above, where she swung and looked down at them from a coign of vantage. Their agility in running up and down the wires of a cage is marvellous. They have also an extraordinary faculty for running up a perpendicular board, and the height from which they can jump is astounding. One day, in my study, I chased one of these mice on to the top of a book-case. Standing on some steps, I was about to put my hand over him, when he jumped on to the marble floor and ran off. I measured the height, and have since measured it again, 8 feet 9-1/2 inches.

I consider this species the most muscular of all mice of the same size. I have had at the same time in confinement an English mouse (albino), a Bengal field mouse, and house mice from Simla of another species, and none of them could show equal activity. I use, for the purpose of taming mice, a glass fish-globe, out of which none of the other mice could get, but I have repeatedly seen specimens of M. urbanus jump clear out of the opening at the top. They would look up, gather their hind quarters together, and then go in for a high leap. They are much more voracious than the Simla or other mice. The allowance of food given would be devoured in less than half the time taken by the others, and they are more given to gnawing. What sort of mothers they are in freedom I know not, but one which produced four young ones in one of my cages devoured her offspring before they were a week old. I have two before me just now as I write, and they have had a quarrel about the highest place on a little grated window. The larger one got the advantage, so the other seized hold of her tail, and gave it a good nip.

* * * * *

Now we come to some doubtful species, doubtful in the sense that they should not be separated, but considered as one to be named afterwards, according to priority of discovery. Dr. Anderson is at present investigating the matter, and we must await his decision, but from such external observations as I have been able to make, it appears probable that the following will prove identical:—

Mus homourus; Mus Darjeelingensis; Mus Tytleri; Mus Bactrianus; Mus cervicolor(?)—Jerdon's Nos. 187, 189, 190, 191, and 192. These are all hill mice, except the last, and found under the same conditions.

NO. 356. MUS HOMOURUS.

HABITAT.—Lower Himalayan range.

DESCRIPTION.—Dark rufescent above, rufescent white below; hands and feet fleshy white; tail equal to length of head and body; "fur more gerbille-like in character than in M. musculus" (or urbanus), stated to be the common house mouse of the Himalayan hill stations from the Punjab to Darjeeling. Stated by Hodgson to have eight teats only in the female, other mice having ten. Possibly his description was founded on young specimens. I myself was of opinion for some time that I had got two species of hill mice, a larger and a smaller, the latter being so much darker in colour, but I kept them till the young ones attained full size in six months, at which time they were not distinguishable from the old ones. Hodgson may have overlooked the pectoral mammae when he noted the number.

SIZE.—Head and body, 3-1/2 inches; tail, 3-1/2 inches.

NO. 357. MUS DARJEELINGENSIS.

DESCRIPTION.—Dusky brown, with a slight chestnut reflection; under-parts pale yellowish-white.

SIZE.—Head and body, 3 inches; tail, 2-1/2 inches.

NO. 358. MUS TYTLERI.

HABITAT.—Dehra Doon.

DESCRIPTION.—Fur long and full, pale, sandy mouse-coloured above, isabelline below; pale on the well-clad limbs, and also on the tail laterally and underneath.

SIZE.—Head and body, 2-3/4 inches; tail, 2-3/4 inches.

NO. 359. MUS BACTRIANUS.

HABITAT.—Punjab, Kashmir, Candahar, Baluchistan, and Southern Persia.

DESCRIPTION.—Upper parts brown above, with a sandy tinge, more on the head; the longer hairs with a dusky tip; the basal two-thirds deep ash; under-parts and feet white; tail clad thinly with fine whitish hair; the fur in general long, dense, and silky.

SIZE.—Head and body, from 2-1/4 to 3-1/4 inches; tail, about the same.

This is the mouse, I think, that I caught in the house at Simla in 1880. Of eight specimens I got—seven in a cupboard in the dining-room and one in a bath-room—I sent two in spirits to the Indian Museum and brought down to Calcutta three alive, which I kept for about seven months, when they died. I have since then seen living specimens of M. bactrianus from Kohat, with which they appear to be identical. They also resemble—I speak under correction—M. cervicolor, which is a field mouse found in Bengal. I made the following notes regarding them: Fur very fine, close and silky, rufescent brown, more rufous on the head, isabelline below; feet flesh-coloured, hinder ones large, much larger than those of the English mouse; the hind-quarters are also more powerful; has a very pretty way of sitting up, with the body bent forwards, and its hands clasped in an attitude of supplication. The young mice seem darker both above and below, and are much more shy than the old ones, of which one soon after being caught took bits of cake from my fingers through the bars of its cage. More delicate looking than Mus urbanus, with a much shorter and finer tail; less offensive in smell.

Dr. Anderson got, not long ago, two of these mice in a box from Kohat. They bore the journey uncommonly well, and were in lively condition when I saw them at the Museum. Whilst we were talking about them, we noticed an act of intelligence for which I should not have given them credit had I not seen it with my own eyes. They were in a box with a glass front; in the upper left-hand corner was a small sleeping chamber, led up to by a sloping piece of wood. The entrance of this chamber was barred by wires bent into the form of a lady's hair-pin, and passed through holes in the roof of the box.

The mice had been driven out, and the sleeping-chamber barred, for they were having their portraits taken. Whilst we were talking we found, to our surprise, that one mouse was inside the chamber, although the bars were down. There seemed hardly space for it to squeeze through; however, it was driven out, and we went on with our conversation, but found, on looking at the cage again, that our little friend was once more inside, so he was driven out again, and we kept an eye on him. To our great surprise and amusement we saw him trot up his sloping board, put his little head on one side, and seize one of the wires, which worked very loosely in its socket, give it a hitch up, when he adroitly caught it lower down, hitched it up again and again till he got it high enough to allow him to slip in underneath, and then he was quite happy once more. He had only been in the box two days, so he was not long in finding out the weak point. I begin to believe now in rats dipping their tails into oil-bottles, and other wonderful stories of murine sagacity that one reads of. Mice, are supposed to live from two-and-a-half to three years. I had the English albino above mentioned for three.

NO. 360. MUS CRASSIPES. The Large-footed Mouse (Jerdon's No. 188).

HABITAT.—Mussoorie and, according to Jerdon, the Neilgherries.

DESCRIPTION.—This is stated to be like M. homourus, but the difference is well marked in a very much longer tail and much larger feet.

SIZE.—Head and body, 2-3/4 inches; tail, 3/4 inch; hind foot, 3/4 inch.

NO. 361. MUS SUBLIMIS.

HABITAT.—Ladakh, 13,000 feet.

DESCRIPTION.—Brown above; whitish below; the colours gradually blending; fur soft and long; all except the tips dark slaty grey, the terminal portions of the shorter hairs being light brown, and of the longer hairs dark brown; upper whiskers black; lower white; ears oval; feet thinly clad with short light brown hairs; tail with short bristly hairs, dusky brown above, whitish below; tail longer than head and body.

SIZE.—Head and body, 2.6 inches; tail, 3.05; length of hind foot, 0.83 inch.

Mr. Blanford, who named the above species, which was procured in the expedition to Yarkand, is doubtful whether it may not be referable to the last species.

NO. 362. MUS PACHYCERCUS.

HABITAT.—Yarkand.

DESCRIPTION.—Sandy brown above; under-parts white; fur soft and very like M. bactrianus; ears large, rounded, hairy; feet clad above with white hair; soles naked; tail thick, shorter than head and body, and thinly clad with white bristles throughout; skin dark above, pale below; incisors deep yellow.

SIZE.—Head and body, 2.35 inches; tail, 1.9 to 2 inches.

Mr. Blanford says this is a house mouse. It is figured in Blanford's 'Mammalia of the Second Yarkand Mission.'

NO. 363. MUS ERYTHRONOTUS.

HABITAT.—Yarkand, Persia.

DESCRIPTION.—Rufous, washed with blackish above, white below, abruptly separated; hairs on the back are slaty at the base, then blackish and bright ferruginous at the tips, the extreme points being black, except on the sides, where the black tip is wanting; upper whiskers black, lower white; ears large, rounded, naked; feet white above, dusky and naked below; tail equal to head and body, nearly naked. Mammae six.

SIZE.—Head and body, 4 inches; tail, 4.2 inches.

This mouse is figured and carefully described in Blanford's 'Eastern Persia,' vol. ii. p. 35.

NO. 364. MUS CERVICOLOR. The Fawn-coloured Field Mouse.

HABITAT.—Bengal, Nepal, Southern India.

DESCRIPTION.—"Distinguished by its short tail. Above dull fawn, below sordid white; lining of ears and extremities pale" (Blyth). "Ears large, hairy" (Jerdon). Of the specimens I have seen the fur is soft and of a light sandy brown above and white below, very like M. bactrianus.

SIZE.—Head and body, 3-1/2 inches; tail, 2-7/8 inches.

NO. 365. MUS TERRICOLOR. The Earth-coloured Field Mouse.

HABITAT.—India generally, I think. It has been found in the valley of the Ganges, in Bengal, in the Santal district west of Midnapore, and Southern India.

DESCRIPTION.—The colour varies according to the soil, but in general fawn brown, more or less rufescent—those from the valley of the Ganges being darker than those from the ferruginous soil of other parts. The under-parts are white, abruptly separated from the brown; fur short and soft.

SIZE.—Head and body, 2-1/2 inches; tail, 2-1/8 inches.

NO. 366. MUS PEGUENSIS. The Pegu Field Mouse.

HABITAT.—The valley of the Sitang River, Burmah.

DESCRIPTION.—"Fur very full and dense, pale fulvescent olive brown on the upper parts, slightly yellowish-white below; whiskers remarkably long" (Blyth). Tail longer than head and body, and well clad with hairs, especially towards the tip.

SIZE.—Head and body, 3-1/8 inches; tail, nearly 4 inches.

NO. 367. MUS NITIDULUS. The Shiny Little House Mouse of Pegu.

HABITAT.—The Sitang valley in Burmah.

DESCRIPTION.—The description given of this mouse by Blyth is extremely vague. He says: "A house mouse apparently, with tail equal to head and body, and uniformly furnished with minute setae to the end; ears large and ample; colour nearly that of M. decumanus, with the under-parts subdued white, tolerably well defined."

He remarks further on that the front teeth are conspicuously larger than those of M. musculus and M. urbanus.

SIZE.—Head and body, 3-1/4 inches; tail, the same.

NO. 368. MUS BEAVENI. Beaven's Mouse.

HABITAT.—Maubhum, and, according to Blyth's Catalogue, Burmah, valley of the Salween.

DESCRIPTION.—"Above rusty brown, medially black; lips and the whole under side pale ochraceous; feet white, all the hair being slate coloured at the base; tail above brown, below with white hairs; upper whiskers black, lower white. Rather smaller and more delicately built than our common harvest mouse."—Prof. Peters, 'P. Z. S.' 1866, p. 559.

NO. 369. MUS CUNICULARIS. The Little Rabbit-Mouse.

HABITAT.—Cherrapunji, Assam.

DESCRIPTION.—"A small field (?) mouse, remarkable for its ample ears and tail shorter than head and body; colour of a wild rabbit above, below white; and the feet with brownish hairs above, but with white hairs upon the toes; tail conspicuously ringed; the setae minute and inconspicuous."—Blyth.

SIZE.—Head and body, 2-1/2 inches; tail, 2-1/8 inches; ears posteriorly half an inch.

NO. 370. MUS ERYTHROTIS. The Cherrapunji Red-eared Mouse.

HABITAT.—Cherrapoonji, Assam.

DESCRIPTION.—A small mouse with very deep soft fur, very long and silky, of a rich dark brown colour, grizzled and brightly tinged with rufous or rufo-ferruginous towards the tail, and upon the ears conspicuously. In such spirit specimens as I have seen the colour was darker than in life, but the soft silkiness of the fur could be seen to advantage as it floated in the clear liquid; the lower parts are whitish, tinged with fawn; feet with brown hairs above; ears small and hirsute, and the tail is also hairy.

SIZE.—Head and body, 2-1/4 inches; tail, 2-3/8 inches.

NO. 371. MUS FULVIDIVENTRIS.

HABITAT.—Ceylon, Trincomalee.

DESCRIPTION.—This is a small mouse very like Mus cervicolor, or perhaps M. terricolor, which it more nearly approaches in size. Kellaart in his 'Prodromus,' calls it cervicolor, but Blyth afterwards separated it under the name given above, though after all I think he was doubtful whether it ought to have been so distinguished. The fur is long, soft, and glossy, fulvous fawn brown above, paler below; feet dingy grey.

SIZE.—Head and body, 2-9/10 inches; tail, 2-5/10 inches.

NO. 372. MUS KAKHYENENSIS. The Kakhyen Mouse.

HABITAT.—Burmo-Chinese frontier, Ponsee.

DESCRIPTION.—Differs from Mus urbanus by its shorter tail, longer hind feet, and larger ears; muzzle moderately deep, and short; ears large and rounded; fur long, dense, and soft, reddish-brown on the upper parts, with a dark speckled appearance due to the stronger hairs having broad brown tips; sides of the head dusky greyish; chin to vent and under-parts greyish-white, with a silvery sheen; feet dusky pale brown; ears and upper surface of tail dark brown, under surface of tail pale brown.—Anderson.

SIZE.—Head and body, 2.90 inches; tail, 3.36 inches.

This mouse was discovered and named by Dr. Anderson, who procured one example at Ponsee, where it occurs, he says, on the old rice and Indian corn clearings. The next species is also a new one discovered and named by him.

NO. 373. MUS VICULORUM. The Kakhyen House Mouse.

HABITAT.—The Burmo-Chinese frontier, Ponsee.

DESCRIPTION.—Muzzle rather sharply pointed, moderately long and not deep; ears moderately large, rounded; its height a little in excess of the distance between the inner canthus and the front of the muzzle; hind-feet not long; tail a little longer than the body and head, finely ringed, five rings to one-tenth of an inch; fur soft, short, dense, dull dark brown on the upper parts, tending to blackish on the back, paling to brownish on the sides, and passing into pale dusky brownish on the under parts with a silvery sheen; feet brownish; toes with shining greyish-yellow hairs; ears and tail brown. (See Anderson's 'Anat. and Zool. Res.,' p. 308.)

SIZE.—Head and body, 2-9/10 inches; tail, 3.14 inches.

This species, according to Dr. Anderson, frequents the villages and houses of the Kakhyens. He obtained it at Ponsee.

* * * * *

We now come to an interesting little group of mice, of which the hairs are mixed with flat spines, which form the genus Leggada of Gray, a term taken from the Wuddur name for the next species.

GENUS LEGGADA.

CHARACTERISTICS.—Molars high, with somewhat convex crowns; the cross ridges of the upper grinders deeply three-lobed; the front one with an additional lunate lobe at the base of its front edge; fur fine, mixed with numerous spines somewhat flattened.

NO. 374. LEGGADA PLATYTHRIX. The Brown Spiny Mouse (Jerdon's No. 194).

NATIVE NAMES.—Leggade and Kal-yelka, of Wuddurs; Gijeli-gadu, Telegu, of Yanadees; Kal-ilei, Canarese.

HABITAT.—Southern India.

DESCRIPTION.—Sandy brown or light brown fawn above, white underneath, with a band of pale fawn separating the two colours.

The fur mixed with flat transparent spines, smaller beneath; head long; muzzle pointed; ears rather large, oblong, rounded, about half an inch in length.

SIZE.—Head and body, 3-1/2 inches; tail, 2-1/2 inches.

The following description has been given by Sir Walter Elliot and reproduced in Jerdon's 'Mammals': "The Leggade lives entirely in the red gravelly soil in a burrow of moderate depth, generally on the side of a bank. When the animal is inside the entrance is closed with small pebbles, a quantity of which is collected outside, by which its retreat may always be known. The burrow leads to a chamber in which is collected a bed of small pebbles on which it sits, the thick close hair of the belly protecting it from the cold and asperity of such a seat. Its food appears to be vegetable. In its habits it is monogamous and nocturnal.

"In one earth which I opened, and which did not seem to have been originally constructed by the animal, I found two pairs, one of which were adults, the other young ones about three-parts grown. The mouth of the earth was very large, and completely blocked up with small stones; the passage gradually widening into a large cavity, from the roof of which some other passages appeared to proceed, but there was only one communication with the surface, viz. the entrance. The old pair were seated on a bed of pebbles, near which, on a higher level, was another collection of stones probably intended for a drier retreat; the young ones were in one of the passages, likewise furnished with a heap of small stones."

Dr. Jerdon adds he has often opened the burrows of this mouse, and can confirm the above account. He also states that the Yanadees of Nellore declare that one variety uses small sticks instead of stones to sit upon, and they give it a distinct appellation, but he could not detect any difference in the specimens they brought him.

NO. 375. LEGGADA SPINULOSA. The Dusky Spiny Mouse (Jerdon's No. 195).

HABITAT.—Punjab, and also Southern India.

DESCRIPTION.—"Nearly affined to M. platythrix (Sykes), but of a dark dusky colour above, with fulvous tips to the softer fur; below and all the feet dull whitish; upper rodential tusks orange, the lower white; whiskers long and fine, the posterior and longer of them black for the basal half or more, the rest white."—Blyth, 'J. A. S. B.' 1863.

SIZE.—Head and body, 3-3/4 inches; tail, 3 inches.

NO. 376. LEGGADA JERDONI. The Himalayan Spiny Mouse (Jerdon's No. 196).

HABITAT.—Himalayan range, up to 12,000 feet.

DESCRIPTION.—"Bright dark ferruginous above, pure white below; some fine long black tips intermingled among the spines of the back; limbs marked with blackish externally; the feet white."—Blyth's 'Mem., J. A. S. B.' vol. xxxii.

SIZE.—Head and body, 4 inches; tail, 3-1/2 inches.

Dr. Jerdon first found this mouse at Darjeeling, but afterwards in the valley of the Sutlej in Kunawur, at an elevation of nearly 12,000 feet, living under large stones.

NO. 377. LEGGADA LEPIDA. The Small Spiny Mouse (Jerdon's No. 197).

NATIVE NAMES.—Chitta-burkani, Chit-yelka, Chitta-ganda, Telegu of Wuddurs; Chitta-yelka of Yanadees.—Jerdon.

HABITAT.—Southern India.

DESCRIPTION.—Similar to L. platythrix, but smaller and more weakly spinous; above pale sandy brown, pure white below, the two colours clearly separated. "The spines are small, fine, transparent, and of a dusky tinge, tipped with fawn; head very long; muzzle pointed; ears large, ovate, naked; tail naked, limbs rather long, fine."—Jerdon.

SIZE.—Head and body, 2-1/2 to 3 inches; tail, 2-3/4 inches.

Jerdon says of this mouse that he has found it in gravelly soil in gardens and woods in most parts of Southern India making a small burrow, which generally has a little heap of stones placed at a short distance from the hole. It is preyed on now and then by the common Indian roller or jay, and it is very generally used as a bait to catch that bird with bird-lime.

GENUS GOLUNDA.

The following rats are separated by Gray as a distinct genus, which from the Canarese name of the type he has called Golunda, the characteristics of which are: "the grinders, when perfect, low, with a broad, flat crown; the cross ridges of the crown of the upper grinders divided into three distinct slightly raised tubercles; upper incisors grooved; rest like Mus."

NO. 378. GOLUNDA ELLIOTI. The Bush Rat or Coffee Rat (Jerdon's No. 199).

NATIVE NAMES.—Gulandi, Canarese; Gulat-yelka of Wuddurs; Sora-panji-gadur, Telegu of Yanadees; Cofee-wattee-meeyo, Singhalese (this name seems to me a corruption of "coffee rat").

DESCRIPTION.—Fur thick and stiff, fulvous brown, mixed with black, some olive brown mixed with fulvous, tawny grey beneath; hairs of upper parts flattened, ashy grey, tipped yellow, with some thinner and longer ones, also tipped yellow, with sub-terminal black band; under fur soft and of a light lead colour; face and cheeks rough; ears moderate, sub-ovate, hairy; tail round, tapering, scaly and hairy, dark brown above, yellowish below; cutting teeth yellow.

SIZE.—Head and body, 4-1/2 inches; tail, 4 inches.

Dr. Kellaart says these are the rats most destructive to coffee-trees, whole plantations being sometimes deprived of buds and blossoms by them.

There is an illustration of one in Sir Emerson Tennent's 'Natural History of Ceylon' in the act of cutting off the slender branches which would not bear its weight in order to feed on the buds and blossoms when fallen to the ground. "The twigs thus destroyed are detached by as clean a cut as if severed with a knife." Sir Walter Elliot writes of it: "The gulandi lives entirely in the jungle, choosing its habitation in a thick bush, among the thorny branches of which, or on the ground, it constructs a nest of elastic stalks and fibres of dry grass thickly interwoven. The nest is of a round or oblong shape, from six to nine inches in diameter, within which is a chamber about three or four inches in diameter, in which it rolls itself up. Round and through the bush are sometimes observed small beaten pathways along which the little animal seems habitually to pass. Its motion is somewhat slow, and it does not appear to have the same power of leaping or springing by which the rats in general avoid danger. Its food seems to be vegetable, the only contents of the stomach being the roots of the haryalee grass. Its habits are solitary (except when the female is bringing up her young) and diurnal, feeding in the mornings and evenings." Dr. Jerdon says: "The Yanadees of Nellore catch this rat, surrounding the bush and seizing it as it issues forth, which its comparatively slow actions enable them to do easily. According to Sir Emerson Tennent the Malabar coolies are so fond of their flesh that they evince a preference for those districts in which the coffee-plantations are subject to their incursions, where they fry the rats in cocoanut-oil or convert them into curry." Both he and Dr. Kellaart mention the migratory habits of this animal on the occurrence of a scarcity of food. Kellaart says that in one day on such visits more than a thousand have been killed on one estate alone.

NO. 379. GOLUNDA MELTADA. The Soft-furred Bush Rat (Jerdon's No. 200).

NATIVE NAMES.—Mettade, of Wuddurs; Metta-yelka, Telegu of Yanadees; Kera ilei, Canarese.

HABITAT.—Southern India and Ceylon.

DESCRIPTION.—Fur very soft; above deep yellowish, olive brown or reddish-brown, with a mixture of fawn; under fur lead colour; chin and under parts whitish; head short; muzzle sharp; ears long and hairy; tail shorter than body, scaly, but scales covered with short black adpressed hairs; feet pale.

SIZE.—Head and body, 3-1/2 to 5-1/2 inches; tail, 2-1/4 to 4-1/4 inches.

The specific name of this rat is an absurd corruption, such as is not unfrequent in Dr. Gray's names, of the native mettade, which means soft. According to that accurate observer Sir Walter Elliot, "the mettade lives entirely in cultivated fields in pairs or small societies of five or six;[25] making a very slight and rude hole in the root of a bush, or merely harbouring among the heap of stones thrown together in the fields, in the deserted burrow of the kok,[26] or contenting itself with the deep cracks and fissures formed in the black soil during the hot months. Great numbers perish annually when these collapse and fill up at the commencement of the rains. The monsoon of 1826 having been deficient in the usual fall of rain at the commencement of the season, the mettades bred in such numbers as to become a perfect plague. They ate up the seed as soon as sown, and continued their ravages when the grain approached to maturity, climbing up the stalks of jowaree and cutting off the ear to devour the grain with greater facility. I saw many whole fields completely devastated, so much so as to prevent the farmers from paying their rents. The ryots employed the Wuddurs to destroy them, who killed them by thousands, receiving a measure of grain for so many dozens, without perceptibly diminishing their numbers. Their flesh is eaten by the Tank-diggers. The female produces six to eight at a birth."—'Madras Journ. Lit. Sc.' x. 1839.

[Footnote 25: In this case probably parents and young.]

[Footnote 26: Nesokia providens.]

Kellaart's Golunda Newera is, I fancy, the same, although the measurement he gives is less. Head and body, 3-1/4 inches; tail, 2-1/2. The description tallies, although Kellaart goes upon difference in size and the omission of Gray to state that G. meltada had the upper incisors grooved. He says that "this rat is found in pairs in the black soil of Newara Elia, and is a great destroyer of peas and potatoes." So its habits agree.

GENUS HAPALOMYS.

This was formed by Blyth on a specimen from Burmah of a murine animal "with a long and delicately fine pelage and exceedingly long tail, the terminal fourth of which is remarkably flattened and furnished with hair more developed than in perhaps any other truly murine form; limbs short, with the toes remarkably corrugated underneath; the balls of the inguinal phalanges greatly developed, protruding beyond the minute claws of the fore-feet, and equally with the more developed claws of the hind-feet; head short; the ears small and inconspicuous; the skull approaches in form that of Mus Indicus,[27] but the rodential tusks are broader and flatter to the front. Molars as in the Muridae generally, but much worn in the specimen under examination; they are considerably less directed outward than usual, and the bony palate has therefore the appearance of being narrow; the superorbital ridges project much outward in form of a thin bony plate, and there is a considerable process at the base of the zygoma anteriorly and posteriorly to the anti-orbital foramen; zygomata broad, and compressed about the middle."

[Footnote 27: Nesokia Blythiana.]

NO. 380. HAPALOMYS LONGICAUDATUS.

HABITAT.—Shway Gheen, in the valley of the Sitang river in Burmah, or its adjacent hills.

DESCRIPTION.—"Fur long and soft, measuring about five-eights of an inch on the upper parts, slaty for the basal two-thirds, then glistening brown with black tips, and a few long hairs of very fine texture interspersed; lower parts dull white; whiskers black, long and fine, and there is a tuft of fine blackish-hair anterior to the ears."—Blyth.

SIZE.—Head and body of a male, 5-3/4 inches; tail 7-1/4 inches. Of another specimen, female: 5-1/4 inches; tail, 7-1/2 inches; sole, 1-1/8 inch; ears posteriorly, 1-1/4 inch.

Specimens of adult male and female with a young one were forwarded to the Asiatic Society's Museum by Major Berdmore.

* * * * *

We have now come to the end of the purely murine group as far as they exist within the limits assigned to these investigations. I ought perhaps to give some short notices of the following specimens discovered in Thibet by the Abbe David, and described by Professor Milne-Edwards in his 'Recherches sur les Mammiferes.'

NO. 381. MUS OUANG-THOMAE. The Kiangsi Rat.

HABITAT.—Kiangsi in Thibet.

DESCRIPTION.—A tawny grey above, mixed with long hairs, tipped with brown, greyish below; between the fore-paws a crescent of pure white, which is a distinguishing mark of the species.

SIZE.—A little less than Mus rattus, which is about seven inches long; tail an inch longer.

This rat Professor Milne-Edwards describes from a single specimen; it is apparently rare, and was named after the Abbe David's Chinese servant—'Recherches sur les Mammiferes,' p. 290.

NO. 382. MUS FLAVIPECTUS. The Yellow-breasted Rat.

HABITAT.—Moupin; Thibet.

DESCRIPTION.—Reddish-brown; chin greyish; throat and chest tawny, mixed with grey; belly and inside of limbs yellowish-grey; ears large, nearly naked; incisors deep yellow; tail brown, covered with short hairs.

SIZE.—About 7-3/4 inches; tail, 6-1/4 inches.—'Mammiferes,' p. 289.

NO. 383. MUS GRISEIPECTUS. The Grey-breasted Rat.

HABITAT.—Moupin; Thibet.

DESCRIPTION.—Brown above; the under-parts of a clear grey.

SIZE.—About the same as the last, but with a somewhat shorter tail.—'Mammiferes,' p. 290.

NO. 384. MUS CONFUCIANUS.

HABITAT.—Moupin; Thibet.

DESCRIPTION.—Fawn brown above, pure white below; lower part of cheek white; on the back the fur is interspersed with longer hairs of a blackish tint; feet pale.

SIZE.—Head and body, about 4 inches.—'Mammiferes,' p. 286.

NO. 385. MUS CHEVRIERI.

HABITAT.—Moupin; Thibet.

DESCRIPTION.—General colour tawny brown, grizzled with dark brown; lower parts of a clear grey, almost white; ears short; feet small; tail covered with short hair.

SIZE.—About 4-3/4 inches; tail about 3-1/2 inches.—'Mammiferes,' p. 288.

NO. 386. MUS PYGMAEUS. The Pigmy Mouse.

HABITAT.—Moupin; Thibet.

DESCRIPTION.—Distinguished by its very short ears and the square form of its head; deep brown above; greyish-yellow beneath; tail shorter than in the common mouse.

SIZE.—About 2-3/4 inches; tail, about 2 inches.—'Mammiferes,' p. 291.

ARVICOLINAE.

In this sub-family the molars are generally semi-rooted or rootless. The Arvicolinae or Voles consist of the American Musquash (Fiber zibethicus), a very beaver-like water rat of large size; the Lemmings (Myodes), of which there are several species which are celebrated for their vast migrations; and the true Vole (Arvicola), which is the only genus found in India, and then only in the colder climate of the Himalayas. There are several species in Europe, of which three are found in England. According to Professor Dallas, the true Voles number about fifty species, arranged by various writers under a considerable number of sub-genera. In India we have only eight known species, and two more from the adjacent country of Thibet.



The European forms of Arvicolae have been divided by Blasius into four sub-genera of two divisions—the first division having rooted molars in the adult animal—containing one sub-genus only, Hypudaeus of Illiger; the second division consists of three sub-genera with rootless molars, viz. Paludicola, Agricola, and Arvicola, which last has again been subdivided into long-eared and short-eared Voles—Arvicola and Microtus—distinguished by the former having eight and the latter four mammae, and respectively six and four tubercles on the plantae, the ears of the latter being almost hidden by the fur.

None of the forms with which we have now to deal belong to the first division, for, as far as the matter has been investigated, the Indian Voles have rootless molars, but the character of the teeth in some differs from the European forms, and therefore Mr. Blanford has proposed a new section, Alticola, for their reception. I have not space here, nor would it accord with the popular character of this work, to go minutely into all the variation of dentition which distinguish the different species. To those who wish to continue to the minutest details the study of the Indian Voles, I recommend a most careful and elaborate paper on them by Mr. W. T. Blanford, F.R.S., in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. L., pt. ii.; but without entering into the microscopic particulars of each species, I may here give a general idea of the formation of the teeth of the Arvicolae differing as it does so much from others of the myomorphic or mouse-like group of rodents. In these the general contour of the molar teeth is roundish oblong, the margins being wavy or indented, according to the convolutions of the enamel, but in the Voles there is a sharp angularity about these indentations; the marginal lines, instead of being in well-rounded curves, are sharply zigzag, forming acute angles. If you were to draw two close parallel zigzag lines it would give you some idea of the contour of these teeth. The molars are in fact composed of alternating triangular prisms, with the outer folds of enamel forming deep and acute angles. The other characteristics of this family are: skull, with brain case rhomboidal, frontals much contracted; infra-orbital opening typical; limbs moderate; tail moderate, or short and hairy.

GENUS ARVICOLA.

Muzzle blunt; fore-feet small, with short claws; soles naked; tail longer than the hind-foot, clad with short hairs; incisors plain, smooth in front. The fore-feet in some species have but a small wart in place of a thumb; in others there is a small thumb with a minute claw. The hind-feet have five toes.

NO. 387. ARVICOLA STOLICZKANUS. The Yarkand Vole.

HABITAT.—Yarkand.

DESCRIPTION.—"Bright ferruginous brown above, pure white beneath; fur soft, rather woolly, 0.5 to 0.6 inch long on the middle of the back, the basal portion throughout both head and body being dark leaden grey; this is the case on the back for about three-quarters of the length of the hairs; the remaining quarter is rufous white, tipped with darker rufous, whilst numerous rather longer hairs are dark rufous-brown at the ends; rather a sharp line divides the rufous of the back from the white belly; upper part of the head the same colour as the back; upper whiskers dark brown, lower, including the longest, white; ears small, rounded, hairy, completely concealed by the fur, with rather short bright rufous hair near the margin inside; and covered outside with longer and paler hair; feet small, the thumb of the fore-foot quite rudimentary and clawless; remaining claws long, compressed, sharply pointed, but much concealed by the long white hairs which cover the upper part of the foot, sales naked; tarsus hairy below, a few hairs between the pads of the toes; tail short, apparently about a quarter the length of the body and head together, covered with stiff fulvescent white hair, which extends about half an inch beyond the end."—W. T. Blanford, 'Sc. Res. of Second Yarkand Mission,' p. 43.

SIZE.—Head and body, about 4 inches; tail, with hair, 1-1/2.

NO. 388. ARVICOLA STRACHEYI. The Kumaon Vole.

HABITAT.—Kumaon.

DESCRIPTION.—Light brown above, with a greyish tint and dusky forehead; under-parts, feet, and tail white; ears small, not longer than the fur, and thickly clad with hair; feet of moderate size; thumb as in the last; tail short and covered with white hairs.

SIZE.—Head and body, about 3.7 inches; tail; 0.7.

This vole was procured first by Capt. (now Lieut.-Gen.) R. Strachey at Kumaon.

NO. 389. ARVICOLA WYNNEI. The Murree Vole.

NATIVE NAME.—Kannees.

HABITAT.—Northern Himalayas; Murree.

DESCRIPTION.—Dark brown above, with a slight greyish tinge; head rufescent, and under-parts pale brown; tail dark brown; ears short and rounded, hidden by the fur; fore-feet rather large; thumb small, with a short claw; incisors orange.

SIZE.—Head and body, about 4-3/4 inches; tail 1-1/4 inch.

NO. 390. ARVICOLA ROYLEI. The Cashmere Vole (Jerdon's No. 202).

HABITAT.—Kashmir; Kunawur near Chini at 12,000 feet.

DESCRIPTION.—Yellowish-brown, with a rufous tint on the back, paler below; tail brown above, whitish underneath; feet concolorous with the under-part; ears small, hairy and nearly hidden by the fur; incisors yellow in front.

SIZE.—Head and body, 3-3/4 inches; tail, 1-2/12 inch.

Jerdon states he got this vole at Kunawur, near Chini, again on the south side of the Barendo pass, and also in the Pir Punjal.

NO. 391. ARVICOLA BLANFORDI. The Gilgit Vole.

HABITAT.—Kashmir territory; Gilgit, at an elevation of 9000 to 10,000 feet.

DESCRIPTION.—Light greyish-brown above, slightly tinged with rufous; greyish-white underneath; fur soft, the basal three-fourths being slaty grey, the rest fawn colour, in some instances with black tips, the hairs of the under-parts being white tipped; ears moderately large, well above the fur, hairy; very long whiskers, chiefly white, a few brown; feet whitish, moderate size; tail cylindrical, not tapering, and well clad with hair, which project about a fifth of an inch beyond the end of the vertebrae.

SIZE.—Head and body, about 4-1/2 inches; tail, 2 inches.

This vole was described by Dr. J. Scully in the 'Annals and Magazine of Natural History,' for November, 1880, vol. vi., and he named it after Mr. W. T. Blanford. It is said to be common on the mountains around Gilgit.

* * * * *

The next two species come under the section Paludicola.

NO. 392. ARVICOLA BLYTHII.

HABITAT.—Western Thibet, Leh and Ladakh.

DESCRIPTION.—General colour above yellowish-brown, below pale isabelline; fur soft; basal two-thirds of the upper hairs, and one-half of the lower hairs, dark slaty; the upper hairs are tipped, some isabelline and some, which are coarser and longer, dark brown; ears round, small, equal, with the fur thinly clad with pale brown hairs inside, and more thickly so with longer hairs outside; upper whiskers dark brown, lower whitish; feet pale isabelline; soles naked; tail cylindrical, distinctly ringed, covered with short light brown hair like the under-parts in colour.

SIZE.—Head and body, about 3 to 4 inches; tail, 1 to 1-1/4 inch.

Mr. Blanford has written fully regarding this species, which was the type of Blyth's genus Phaiomys, in the 'Scientific Results of the Second Yarkand Mission,' page 39, in which he contends, after going through a mass of literature on the subject, that there are no grounds for constituting it the type of a new species; and, if this be conceded, then the specific name given by Blyth, viz. leucurus, being forestalled, it is necessary to rename it, which he has done in honour of that well-known naturalist.

NO. 393. ARVICOLA MANDARINUS. The Afghan Vole.

HABITAT.—Afghanistan; Chinese Mongolia.

DESCRIPTION.—Light greyish rufescent brown above, white beneath; ears short, hidden by the fur and hairy; feet whitish; tail rufescent brown.

SIZE.—About 4 inches; tail about 1 inch.

This vole, which is described and figured by Milne-Edwards, is supposed to have been found in Afghanistan from a specimen in Griffith's collection. A. mandarinus comes from Chinese Mongolia, and it is figured in the 'Recherches sur les Mammiferes.'

* * * * *

The next species was made a separate genus, Neodon, by Hodgson, which has been adopted by Jerdon; but there are no good grounds for continuing this separation. Mr. Blanford is certainly of this opinion, and in his remarks on it (see his 'Sc. Results Second Yarkand Mission,' pp. 41-42) he writes: "The genus Neodon, appears to be founded on characters of only specific importance, and the type N. Sikimensis is, I think, a true Arvicola."

NO. 394. ARVICOLA SIKIMENSIS. The Sikim Vole (Jerdon's No. 203).

NATIVE NAMES.—Phalchua, Nepalese, apparently Hindi; Cheekyu, Kiranti; Singphuci, Thibetan.

HABITAT.—Nepal; Sikim; Thibet.

DESCRIPTION.—Fur soft and silky. "Deep brownish-black above with a slight rusty shade, minutely and copiously grizzled with hairs of a deep ferruginous tint" (Horsfield). Or a deep golden brown from yellow hairs being intermixed; bluish-grey beneath, with a slight fulvous tint; fur leaden grey for the basal three-fourths, the terminal fourth being brownish or tawny with some tipped black; the hairs of the under-parts are dipped with dirty white; ears project beyond the fur moderately, and are hairy; feet very slender; tail thinly clad with short brown hair. The female has six mammae.

SIZE.—Head and body, about 4-3/4 inches; tail, 1-1/2 inch. Horsfield gives 5 inches for head and body.

According to Jerdon this vole has only been procured in Sikim near Darjeeling, at heights varying from 7000 to 15,000 feet; but I believe the area it inhabits to be much larger. Hodgson found his specimens at Darjeeling, and on one occasion got a nest in a hollow tree in the forest; it was saucer-shaped, of soft grass without any lining, and contained a male, female, and two young. The latter were "2-1/8 inches long, hairy above, nude below, and blind; the ears also closed." Jerdon writes: "Mr. Atkinson found it under fallen trees and stones on the top of Tonglo, near Darjeeling, 10,000 feet, whence also I had a specimen brought me."

* * * * *

The next species is one described and figured by Professor Milne-Edwards, and from Thibet he has two illustrations of it—one of an entire blackish-brown, the other darker above, but with the black belly.

NO. 395. ARVICOLA MELANOGASTER.

HABITAT.—Moupin in Tibet.

DESCRIPTION.—"It is characterised by the colour of the lower parts, which are a blackish-grey. The upper parts are sometimes as black as a mole, sometimes grizzled with brown" ('Mammiferes,' p. 284). The brown specimen with the dark belly is evidently a rarity.

FAMILY SPALACIDAE.

The members of this family are characterised by very large incisors; some have premolars, as in Bathyergus and two other genera, but not in the Spalacinae, of which our bamboo-rat (Rhizomys) is the representative in India. "The grinding teeth are rooted, not tuberculate, but with re-entering enamel folds; infra-orbital opening moderate or small, with no perpendicular plate; occipital plane high, often sloped boldly forward; palate narrow; form cylindrical; eye and ear-conch very small, sometimes rudimentary; limbs short and stout; claws large; tail short or absent" (Alston, 'P. Z. S.' 1876, p. 86). There are two subfamilies—Spalacinae and Bathyerginae.

GENUS RHIZOMYS—THE BAMBOO-RAT.

"Form robust; eyes very small; ears very short, naked; pollex rudimentary; tail rather short, partially haired; skull broad; occipital plane only slightly sloped forward; infra-orbital opening small, sub-triangular; upper incisors arched forward; no premolar; upper molars with one deep internal and two or more external enamel-folds; the lower molars reversed."—Alston.

NO. 396. RHIZOMYS BADIUS. The Chestnut Bamboo-Rat (Jerdon's No. 201).

NATIVE NAME.—Known to the Chingpaws or Kakhyens as the Yewcron.—Anderson.

HABITAT.—The Sikim and Nepal Terai; Burmah; Arakan; Kakhyen Hills.



DESCRIPTION.—Fine fur, of a grey or slaty grey for two-thirds of the basal portion, the remaining upper third being from a deep to a bright chestnut. "Most intense on the head, and dullest on the rump" (Anderson). "Below dark ashy grey" (Jerdon). "The fur of the under-parts in these Eastern examples of the species" (referring to those from the Kakhyen hills) "is paler and more reddish than chestnut, whereas in some Nepal animals it inclines even to slaty grey, washed with reddish. The area immediately around the muzzle and the chin is pale brownish, with a tinge of greyish, and the teeth are brilliant reddish, the nose, ears, feet, and tail being pale flesh-coloured" (Anderson, 'Anat. and Zool. Res.' p. 329).

SIZE.—Head and body, 7 inches; tail, about 2-1/2 inches.

Jerdon says of this species that "it eats the roots of bamboos and other trees, constructing burrows under the roots. It is said to be very bold, and easily taken." "In Burmah it constructs its burrows amongst a rank and tall jungle grass, on the roots of which it is said to live" (Anderson). Blyth, who writes of the Burmese form, says: "it is barely separable from R. badius, from which it seems to differ only in its much brighter colouring."

NO. 397. RHIZOMYS ERYTHROGENYS. The Red-cheeked Bamboo-Rat.

HABITAT.—Burmah; the Salween hill tracts; Tenasserim.

DESCRIPTION.—Upper parts dark iron grey; almost black on the top of the head; the upper lip, chin and upper part of the throat are white, also the chest and belly, which are however more or less tinged with grey and reddish; the lower portion of the throat is dark grey; the sides of the head and cheeks are bright golden red; the feet are sparsely clad and leaden coloured, except the toes of the hind feet, which are fleshy white; tail rather thick at the base, quite naked, not scaly, and of a leaden hue; claws rather broad, and moderately strong.

SIZE (of the living female).—Head and body, 14-3/4 inches; tail, 5.35 inches.

Dr. Anderson, from whose work I have taken the above description, and who was the first to describe and name this animal, says that a female was recently received in the Zoological Gardens from Mr. A. H. Hildebrand.

NO. 398. RHIZOMYS PRUINOSUS. The Hoary Bamboo-Rat.

HABITAT.—Assam; very common about Cherrapoonjee; Burmah; Kakhyen hills east of Bhamo.

DESCRIPTION.—Brown above, grizzled with white; the base of the fur being slaty grey, tipped with brown, and intermixed with longer hairs, terminating in white bands; underneath much the same, only the white-tipped hairs are shorter and less numerous; whiskers dark brown; the head is generally more grey; ears, nose, feet and tail of a dusky flesh tint; tail one-third of the body.

SIZE.—Head and-body, about 11 to 13 inches; tail, 3 to 4 inches.

NO. 399. RHIZOMYS MINOR. The Small Bamboo-Rat.

NATIVE NAME.—Khai, Aracanese.

HABITAT.—Burmah, Upper Martaban, and at Yanageen on the Irrawaddy.—Blyth.

DESCRIPTION.—"Dark sooty brown above, slightly tinged with deep umber, which is most distinct on the sides of the head and neck, and in reflected light; the under parts are like the upper, only the brown tint is almost absent; the whiskers are black, and tail very sparsely haired" (Anderson). "Dusky brown colour, with white muzzle and around the eye, and pale naked feet" (Blyth).

SIZE.—Head and body, 6-1/2 inches; tail, 1-3/4 inch.

Blyth says he obtained a living specimen in Upper Martaban, and recognised it as the same as what had been obtained in Siam. The Rev. Mr. Mason writes of it: "This animal, which burrows under old bamboo roots, resembles a marmot more than a rat; yet it has much of the rat in its habits. I one night caught a specimen gnawing a cocoa-nut, while camping out in the jungles."

* * * * *

I may here mention a curious little animal, which is apparently a link between the MURIDAE and the SPALACIDAE, Myospalax fuscocapillus, named and described by Blyth ('J. A. S. B.' xv. p. 141), found at Quetta, where it is called the "Quetta mole." A full account of it by Mr. W. T. Blanford is to be found in the 'Journal Asiatic Society of Bengal,' (vol. L. pt. ii.).

FAMILY DIPODIDAE.

This family contains a form of rodent similar to, yet more pronounced than, the jerboa rats, of which I have already treated. It includes the true Jerboas (Dipus), the American Jumping Mice (Zapus), the Alactaga, and the Cape Jumping Hare (Pedetes caffer). The characteristics of the family are as follows:—

"Incisors compressed; premolars present or absent; grinding teeth rooted or rootless, not tuberculate, with more or fewer transverse enamel folds; skull with the brain-case short and broad; infra-orbital opening rounded, very large (often as large as the orbit); zygomatic arch slender, curved downwards; the malar ascending in front to the lachrymal in a flattened perpendicular plate; facial surface of maxillaries minutely perforated; mastoid portion of auditory bullae usually greatly developed; metatarsal bones elongated, often fused into a cannon bone; form gracile; front portion of body and fore-limbs very small; hind limbs long and strong, with from three to five digits; tail long, hairy. Three sub-families" (Alston On the Order GLIRES, 'P. Z. S.' 1876). The three sub-families are Zapodidae,[28] Dipodinae and Pedetinae, but we have only to deal with the second.

[Footnote 28: Formerly Jaculinae.]



GENUS DIPUS—THE JERBOAS.

Hind feet with three digits; tail cylindrical and tufted; incisors grooved; premolars absent, or, if found, then in the upper jaw and rudimentary; skull with very broad occipital region; greatly developed auditory bullae; the cervical vertebrae are more or less anchylosed, and the metatarsals are united. They are not found in the plains of India, though one species inhabits Yarkand, and two more are found in Eastern Persia.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14     Next Part
Home - Random Browse