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are of little or no value, and only the appetite of a famishing hunter can relish the flesh of an old one.
The Black Bear (2. Ursus Americanus) is limited to the counties north of San Francisco bay, and the higher part of the Sierra Nevada. It is exactly the same animal found in the Atlantic States, and differs from the grizzly not only in color, but in anatomical characters. The hair is also much softer, and the skin of considerable value for robes, etc. It is rather a timid animal, usually nocturnal in its travels, and generally runs away at the first suspicion of being hunted. Occasionally its depredations on young pigs, calves, etc., make it an object of the farmer's vengeance, and its meat is pretty good eating. The skin is worth four to eight dollars. The bears called "cinnamon" and “brown” are believed by naturalists to be merely varieties in color of the grizzly and black species, as litters of young are found varying through almost every shade between these colors, although there is nothing indicating mixture of the two species. There is, however, some reason to think that the brown bear of Mexico, a smaller kind, may
be found in our southern counties. It is mentioned in the United States and Mexican Boundary Report as Ursus amblyceps, Baird.
The Raccoon of Western America (3. Procyon Hernandezii) differs from the Eastern species only in some unimportant anatomical characters. It has the same mischievous, playful disposition, like that of the monkeys, and is often tamed as a pet. It is hunted only for sport, or for its skin, which is little used; but its flesh is considered good eating by many. Being very much an arboreal animal, it is scarce in proportion to the absence of timber, becoming rare in the southern counties. Its depredations on the hen-roost occasionally make it the victim of the farmer and his dogs. The skin is worth only from ten to twenty-five cents.
The American Badger (4. Taxidea Americana) takes the place of the raccoon in the woodless districts and the forests, where its burrows may be seen excavating the ground in every direction-being dug in pursuit of squirrels or other small quadrupeds. Being mostly subterranean in its habits, unable to climb or to run fast, it does no injury to the farmer, but on the contrary benefits him by destroying large numbers of vermin. Its hair is coarse, its skin worth only about seventy-five cents to one dollar, and its flesh is almost uneatable.
The Skunks are allied to the badger, but less subterranean, hunting what small birds, eggs, insects, etc., they can find on the ground, and, though slow-paced, find so much food as to be usually fat. Two species are common here. The large kind (5. Mephitis occidentalis) is
very much like that common in the Atlantic States, but larger, and black with two white stripes. The other, (6. Mephitis bicolor), found only west of the Mississippi, is only a third the size of the preceding, and has several white stripes and spots. The fur being long, soft and finely variegated, is used to some extent by furriers, who can eradicate the well-known odor of the animal. The skins sell to them for ten to forty cents each.
The Glutton, or Wolverine, (7. Gulo luscus), resembles a skunk in form, but is as large as a sheep, though with short legs. A few are killed every winter in the snowy heights of the northern Sierras. They are noted principally for robbing the hunter's traps, possessing great strength for their size, and dropping from trees on the necks of deer which they kill by biting through the blood vessels. Their skins sell for one dollar to three dollars and fifty cents each.
The Fisher (8. Mustela Pennantii) is also a straggler from the snowy north to the summits of the Sierra Nevada, where a few are annually killed. The skins are worth from one to four dollars each, and well known as a material for capes, etc. This animal is chiefly arboreal, and found only in the dense timber, where it hunts birds and small quadrupeds, combining the habits of the dog and cat in its manner of securing prey.
The American Sable, or Marten, (9. Mustela Americana), is also found in the high Sierra-but is rare. Its beautiful fur is well known, and its habits are like those of its larger relative-the fisher. The skin is worth from one to three dollars in its undressed state.
The Mink (10. Putorius vison) is more common in the northern parts of the State, and identical with the mink of the Eastern States. Its fur is fine, but less valuable than the preceding. It is a more aquatic animal, living much on fish, but often seeking the barnyard to prey on fowls at night. Its "pelt" is worth three to four dollars.
The Yellow-cheeked Weasel (11. Putorius xanthogenys) is peculiar to this State, as far as known. It is very prettily marked with brown and yellow stripes on the head, but its fur is too short to be of value, and its strong odor makes it an undesirable pet, although it might become useful as a rat-catcher, if tamed.
The California Otter (11. Lutra Californica) is common in fresh water streams throughout the northern half of this State. It differs only in some anatomical characters from the otter of the Atlantic States and Europe, and its fur is of some value. As is well known, it lives entirely on fish, and is easily tamed, becoming quite docile and
playful in captivity, when taken young. The skin is worth from four to five dollars here.
The Sea-Otter, (13. Enhydra marina), limited to the North Pacific Ocean, is much more aquatic in habits than the land otter, and goes very far from shore, thus forming a link between the latter and the seals. Formerly very abundant along our coast, its valuable fur has made it such a prize to the hunter that it is now rarely seen, and only killed with great difficulty, on account of its wariness and rare occurrence out of the water. Very little is known of its habits, and specimens even of the bones are very scarce in museums. It has been reported as formerly a common visitor to the larger rivers of this State; but steamboats and hunters have recently kept it away. The skins sell at from thirty to one hundred dollars each to furriers, who export them chiefly to China.
The Cougar, also called American Panther, and California Lion, (14. Felis concolor) is a species identical throughout North America; and also found in South America, where it is called puma, etc. It is common in the wooded portions of the State, and dangerous when irritated, though cowardly and nocturnal in habits. It is often killed when preying on the farmer's stock, attacking chiefly young animals. Its flesh is rarely or never eaten, and its skin worth only seventy-five cents to one dollar.
The Jaguar (15. Felis onca) is much more like the panther of Asia, being beautifully spotted. A few have undoubtedly been killed in this State, but it is now very rare, though common in Mexico and South America, whence most of the skins are brought, selling here for one to four dollars. The Ocelot (Felis eyra?) is said to be found in the southern part of California, but has not been recently confirmed as a native.
The Wild Cat, or Red Lynx, (16. Lynx rufus), is abundant throughout California, and noted chiefly for its destruction of poultry, young lambs, etc. It is identical with that of the Atlantic States, but there is a suspicion that the larger and darker colored lynx of Oregon (Lynx fasciatus) may also be found in the northern part of this state. Their skins are worth ten to sixty cents only.
The American Civet Cat, called Raccoon-Fox, and Mountain Cat, (17. Bassaris astuta), is found quite frequently in the lower Sierras, extending north from Mexico. It is a great pet among the miners, noted for playfulness and gentleness, hunting mice, rats, birds, etc., and having much the habits of the domestic cat. Its fur is rather coarse and valueless.
The Gray Wolf (18. Canis occidentalis) is common in the northern and luigher districts of the State, as well as throughout the country. Its worthless and cowardly character is too well known to need further notice. The skin is worth from one to two dollars.
The Cayote (19. Canis latrans) is found only in or near the region of plains. It combines the characters of the wolf and fox, and its skin is so valueless that it is even of less consequence than the latter, the best bringing only one dollar.
Of foxes, no less than seven species have been described as inhabitants of this State. They vary exceedingly in color, and but two well marked species can be founded on differences in their forms. These are, first, the Long-tailed Fox, (20. Vulpes macrourus), which shows the most variation in color, ranging from black to red, with a mixture of gray. The silver variety has been named as distinct, but is said to occur in the same litter with all the other shades. Its skin is sometimes worth twenty-five dollars. Some of them are marked by a cross on the shoulders, and then called cross fox. The smaller red fox of the Atlantic States (Vulpes fulvus) is also said to have similar varieties, and
may perhaps occur in this State.
The Gray Fox (21. Vulpes Virginianus) seems to be identical with the Eastern animal, and differs in many respects from the others, its coarse fur being less valuable, and its habits quite different.
The Island Fox (22. Vulpes littoralis) is confined to some of the southern islands, and seems to be merely a small local variety of the
The Swift Fox (23. Vulpes velox) is a small kind found on the desert plains of the interior, and seems a stunted form of the Red or Longtailed Fox. A similar variety occurs on the islands. All these species cxcept the silver variety are worth from two to four dollars each for their skins.
The Seal family furnishes several interesting examples along our coast. The Sea-Lions are the most generally known, as they resort in large numbers to the rocks and islands near the shores, where, if unmolested, they allow a very near approach, and opportunities of observing their curious habits. At Seal Rock, near the Golden Gate, they are among the chief attractions to visitors, who resort there in thousands from the city during fine weather. There are similar localities all along the coast, and their not unmusical roaring, mingled with the sound of the waves, gives an animation to the sea-beach not found on our eastern shores. Several species have been named, but there is still some doubt as to the number, as the females are only a third
the size of the males, and appear to have been named as distinct animals. Both sexes also vary in size on different islands, those of the Farallones being a third larger than those of Santa Barbara island. Investigations now in progress will decide the question, and the scientific names already given may be mentioned here merely for future reference. (24. Arctocephalus Gillespir. 25. A. Monteriensis. 26. A. Californianus, the latter, perhaps, the same as Otaria Stelleri.) The Arctic sea-bear (A. ursinus) probably does not come so far south, nor does the walrus (Rosmarus obesus.)
The larger Sea-Lions of the Farallones are of little or no value commercially, as they do not furnish oil enough to pay for the trouble and expense of trying it out. The smaller kind of Santa Barbara Island is, however, hunted annually by two or three companies of sealers, who make a profit from about six weeks' work in May and June, but do nothing at sealing the rest of the year. The oil is very impure and dark, and is used by the tanners to dress leather with, for which purpose most of it is exported to New York. Little, if any use has been found for the skins, and the carcasses are left where they are killed. Being fisheaters, these animals are not very sanguinary in disposition, but rather cowardly, although the males fight fiercely together, always shuffling off into the water on the approach of men, especially where they are much hunted. All these seals have fur of a very similar quality, and their skins, known as hair-seals, sell for only twenty-five cents to a dollar apiece, being those of young animals only.
The Leopard Seal (27. Phoca Pealii ?) is a small species common on rocks and in bays. It is beautifully spotted, in the same manner as the leopard, but with duller colors, and its skin is of very little value, the hair being thin and coarse. Being very timid and much persecuted by idlers who make a mark of every animal they see, whether they can use it or not; these animals have become cautious and are difficult to approach. They go high up the rivers where the water is clear, in pursuit of fish, as do the young sea-lions.
There is a species of Fur-Seal, (yet undetermined scientifically,) which visits the Farallones and other islands on our coast, in small numbers, being probably the same found abundantly on the coast of Alaska, where the skins form a considerable article of traffic, the price being from one dollar to two dollars and fifty cents each.
The Californian Sea-Elephant (29. Macrorhinus angustirostris) was formerly abundant at some seasons on the islands of our coast, but has been exterminated or driven away by the persecutions of sealers, so that few or none can now be found north of San Diego. They resemble